Isabel Vogel was a little nervous when she arrived at Microsoft's German headquarters in Unterschleissheim just north of Munich for a job interview. You have nothing to lose, she told herself. She knew that making it this far was already a victory. Despite her stellar background, she wouldn't have stood at a chance at most other companies. For them, there would be one huge blemish on her resume: the fact that she is the mother of three young children.
Her twins had just turned two and she had another child who was three and a half. Despite her responsibilities as a mother, Vogel, a marketing assistant, wanted to work a 30-hour week. Preposterous, her friends said. "No problem," the man at Microsoft told her. "I have confidence in you; you'll make it," he said—and offered her the job.