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Let’s Talk About It! Gabrielle Union says “The Penance for being a Career Woman is Barrenness”



Gabrielle Union Redbook October 2015 issue
Just a day after “Sex & the City” star Kim Cattrall explained that she finds the term “childless” offensive and also that she considers herself to be a mother (of her nieces/nephews and young people she mentors) despite not having any biological children; Now “Being Mary Jane” lead Gabrielle Union is sharing her view which will surely get people talking.

In an interview with Redbook Magazine for their October 2015 “Ageless” issue, Gabrielle says this –

On IVF and the pressures of trying for a family later in life…
“So far, it has not happened for us. A lot of my friends deal with this. There’s a certain amount of shame that is placed on women who have perhaps chosen a career over starting a family younger. The penance for being a career woman is barrenness. You feel like you’re wearing a scarlet letter.

On how hard it is for working women with children…
“The reality is that women are discriminated against in the workplace for being mothers. As much as there are strides being made – you get pregnant, your career takes a hit. You can’t have a bad day. Don’t you dare cry at work. Don’t raise your voice. Especially if you’re a black woman in corporate America—now you’re ‘the angry black woman.'”

On the weird thing about being married to a younger man…
“I realized his friends, his teammates, were conceived when I was, like, a senior in high school. I was in high school at the same time as their parents! Sometimes he’ll be like, ‘Oh, my God, he’s so old!’ about someone who’s 35. But, Dwyane’s an old 33, and I’m a young 42, so it balances out.”
This is certainly an interesting viewpoint. We are not sure how it resonates in the Nigerian context but we do know a large number of our BN fam are working women all over the world.

Let us know your thoughts.


  1. Timmy Tim

    September 14, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    unfortunately this is true! Women get the hit every time.

    • Kaeto

      September 14, 2015 at 11:33 pm

      See at the end of the day we don’t mind being with men that are financially stable, to take care of us but since men are still boys, we must put career first. Period, stop waiting for that ring, just buy sperm and check the genes, ta da a child is born. Even with both parents we all know must fathers are 99% absent except providing money ( guess what? We have it covered). We can raise a nation don’t hold your dreams for losers.

  2. Mary

    September 14, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    My thought may be different from yours Gab, you can still draw a thing line between career and family, then, make child thing work out…. having a baby can never be boring.

  3. Scarletlush

    September 14, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Career is the power/strength of a woman. Career is the voice of a woman. Career garners respect and imposes value on an African woman. Albeit a woman’s age is perishable in regards to marriage and child-birth; I feel it’s better for a woman to build her career in her 20s and gradually wrap up to the peak of career in her 30s. Yet, she must be very careful not to gamble with her early cum late 30s…as that is her only limited fair time left (fertility wise) to rare her own family. Anything above the age of 40 is a risk.

    • Frida

      September 14, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Women should start encouraging each other to believe that we can have it all.
      why can’t a woman marry in her 20s, have children and still have a fulfilling career? It’s very doable…lots of women have done it. My mom did it and I’m toeing that line.
      pls ladies…If you have a good man who loves you and is willing to marry you while you’re in your 20s…don’t give him up all in the name of career…you can do both… just need to plan childbearing.

  4. Scarletlush

    September 14, 2015 at 4:26 pm


  5. @vivanaija

    September 14, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    I hope its not true, I plan to have it all 😉

  6. Mide

    September 14, 2015 at 4:32 pm


  7. Ibinabo

    September 14, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    …an old 33, and I’m a young 42, so it balances out. I like that.

  8. Tari

    September 14, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    “The penance for being a career woman is barrenness. You feel like you’re wearing a scarlet letter.“

    The fact that a famous person said it does not make it correct. This is utter crap and is completely personal. No need for generalization. Barrenness is either a personal choice or a hand dealt to you by nature. Loads of women have a successful career and keep decent homes filled with kids. It is not one or the other. I know it is not easy but it is very doable.

    • Lola

      September 14, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      I was thinking the same thing. There are many women out there who have a successful career and children, it all about finding a balance and having a good support system. “No need for Generalization” is very correct

    • Naijalikita

      September 15, 2015 at 1:13 am

      But hold up… Did she generalize or did she speak from her experience as an American woman? Women shouldn’t read her statements and automatically assume that it is the plight of women every where. I believe it is easier for a Nigerian women to have a career than an American woman. Easier, I said. A Nigerian working woman has access to paid maternity leave if she is a career woman, house help or nanny and family. An American woman does not. Paid maternity leave is not something we get here. Nigerian women in American often have to send home for someone to come and help so they can go back to work right away. Otherwise, the infant goes to daycare and is open to all sorts of illnesses from the big kids. If you can afford it, get a nanny. Keep in mind I am speaking about career women, not women on welfare who are required to sit home and make babies. Gabrielle’s words will resonate more with American women who are working (though not all) and less with a Nigerian woman (I can’t say African because my Nigerian experience is not the African experience) unless she is also living the American experience. What is doable for some is a struggle for others.

    • Blueberry

      September 15, 2015 at 10:03 am

      I totally agree. I mean she can afford a nanny to look after a child if she wants to. I think blaming the absence of a child on her career is too easy an excuse. I believe she doesn´t just want to have kids. Which is ok, if it is her choice. She should just say the truth : She chose her career over having a child, period.

    • Segun

      September 15, 2015 at 8:12 am

      Gbam!!!! Very correct. We really need to stop taking these celebrities seriously when it comes to giving advice.

  9. Ib

    September 14, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    O yes!
    I’m afraid that the 21st century woman is kinda like between a Rock & a Hard place!
    “Go to work” – Then you’re the SELFISH wife that doesn’t want to stay home to take care of the family from cooking every meal the family eats etc etc..
    “Stay at home” – Then you’re the LAZY wife who doesn’t want to go to work and support your husband in bringing the bacon home!

    I remember a couple years back when the lovely Duchess of Cambridge Catherine made a statement about planning to be a “home maker” (stay-at-home-mum, housewife..whatever one may call it) & boy o boy did the tabloids attack her!
    Now who wants to bet that if she said she was gonna go to work that she wouldn’t have been slated, perhaps even more?! (Ahah! Abi the royal money never reach ur acct, Katie?)

    And as a wife, mum & career woman myself, I can certainly relate on sooo many levels!
    Anyhoo, my point is that – all 21st Century ladies out there, it’s best you recognise this dilemma & don’t try to fight it but deal with it in the best way for YOU & YOUR FAMILY!



    September 14, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I will always say its just luck and favour from experience. Though most times the earlier the better. But will you force a man to marry you or what about people that marry so early and still suffer unexplained infertility for years and conceive later on in life. Halle Berry married very early but started having kids very late not because she waited she tried all those years but it came later in life. So many people have ha that problem.It is what is.

  11. Iris

    September 14, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    I’m not sure I understand what she’s trying to say. Unless you are biologically unable to conceive children (in which case you could adopt) you can choose to find a balance. One aspect will definitely suffer more or both may suffer but until men can get pregnant, we have to find a way to be happy we can have a little or a lot of both. If people judge you for wanting one but not the other that’s a different story. Life is complicated enough already and to be honest sometimes I feel less sorry for celebrities who have financial resources and can take time off to have a child or raise a child. It’s like that time Gwyneth Paltrow tried to convince the world that 9 to 5 mothers had it better than she did.

  12. judy

    September 14, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Truth is she ain’t a good actress. She’s about her looks which explains her selfish choice as a career woman and the reason for her “barrenness”. Too many career women, genuine actresses to be specific, have bared children and still do. Because she lacks actual talent she’s been sexualized so much so her looks and shape gets her the roles (like Genevieve of the new, no pun intended, I love the old raw Genevieve). Hence she is terrified of getting pregnant and being an out of job actress.

    • Ayoka

      September 14, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      Pun? :-,

    • correctperson

      September 14, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      LMAOO.. me too when i didnt know the meaning of no pun intended, i used to use it anyhow. Someone will ask me how far na? ill reply.. I dey o. no pun intended! lol.. allow Judy o…

    • newbie

      September 14, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      @correctperson you are just ‘were’, I swear????

    • Cancel Reply

      September 14, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      @ Judy …uh? #blankstare

    • Ifeoma

      September 14, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      I totally disagree. Gabrielle is a good actress. You don’t land top roles only because you are beautiful but a bad actress unless there lies within the system an ulterior motive. You need to also have what they are looking for. Do you know the number of beautiful girls who audition for roles? I went to an audition and even as a woman I saw beauty. Everyone I saw was beautiful trust me and if all they needed for the role was beauty, I don’t know what would have happened that day. Your monologues have got to be captivating, you need to fit into the role, got to be confident, articulate and have lots of skills I cant explain via this medium. I could write a text book on acting. You can’t just land a role only because you are beautiful, another way is if your relatives did the interview and the company belonged to them. Tyler Perry is not stupid o, have you seen his actors and actresses. Gabriella has also acted with Will Smith and lots of people. Don’t joke. Your looks can favor you as jara but if you are bad, you won’t even get a call.

    • Mbaks

      September 15, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      WHAT? SWERVE==>>SWERVE===>>>KEEP SWERVING====>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

  13. nene

    September 14, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    she’s a liar. let her just say she doesn’t want children.

  14. Tot

    September 14, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    She should please speak for herself abeg

  15. Kemmie

    September 14, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    I can relate to some of the issues raised here. In my case I put my career on hold when I realised I was approaching the big 3-0 to settle down and have a family. In a way I paid the prize for my decision and my career suffered a big hit. For almost 5years I suffered stagnation resulting in low self esteem. Some of my mates that took the decision to make their careers a priority, had high flying career while I was in no way compared to them in terms of their career achievement.

    To the glory of God, I have been able to find my feet again with a high flying career with all its financial security, and at the same time expecting my third child. I had a bad time with hubby today and shed a few tears at work, however I could not risked to be seen like a vulnerable women that is struggling to juggle everything together. Sometime I have to pretend that I am coping excellently well with the pregnancy, family palava and my job. I am happy to have a career and family, but it all comes at a cost. As women we need both family and career but one is more important than the other.
    For me, if I have to choose again, children will always come before career in my scale of priority/ preference.
    I pray that God will answer all those women looking unto God for that amazing blessing of the fruit of the womb.

    • sass

      September 14, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      You are so honest, thank you for sharing that


      September 15, 2015 at 8:18 am

      I love the way you put it…. My thoughts exactly even though am not yet married

  16. Sandy

    September 14, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    She looks younger than her husband. I had no idea she was older!! She is a young gorgeous woman. Age is JUST a number!

  17. Lilo

    September 15, 2015 at 2:07 am

    I just hope Dwayne Wade never leaves her cos from her ranting, I don’t think she can cope with adding manless title to her self-assigned title of barrenness. recipe for snapped!

  18. neeka

    September 15, 2015 at 4:00 am

    women, please stop judging!! remember that magazines have to sell. have u thought that maybe she said it differently? true, it is difficult to have a career plus family for African American women. For some African’s living in America, they often send for parents and family members to come care for the kids. I have friends who have sent babies back to Africa at 1month !~! but that’s the price they have to pay. i live abroad with my two babies and a dead beat father back home who can’t support us. i can tell u that it is extremely difficult. But as women have an amazing DNA…we do what we have to do. so plz stop the bashing!!!!

  19. fleur

    September 15, 2015 at 4:30 am

    Our mothers and grandmothers were fertile into their fifties- They did not Start downing birth control like us at the age of 18. Also, they did not have to deal with Chlamydia and many sex partners. Lifestyle is the problem. what we do with our Vaginas and reproductive Package adds up and pushes early menopause.

  20. meserami

    September 15, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Pointless excuse from union, Angelina Jolie, Jessica alba ain’t career women shey? They don’t have kids n family shey?
    Talking about blacks,
    Queen BAe isn’t a career woman right?
    She gave birth and still knocking out those who haven’t and those who have.
    Some people just need to ignore some questions when asked.

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