Advancing Women in the Workplace: Integrating Work and Life

Idea Exchange CoverI’m proud to share that a report I helped write about how to advance women in the workplace has been released nationally and to leaders in the White House.

Last summer I participated in an online forum hosted by Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business (located in Boston). I was invited to share my thoughts through a connection of mine, and a total of 350 professionals posted their comments.

Out of these 350 folks, 11 women were selected to participate in a writing collaborative to boil down the comments into an actionable, thoughtful report. That included me!

We worked on several categories within the report. I focused on what we called “work-life integration”, which included ideas around maternity leave policies, availability of quality childcare, healthy learning experiences for kids so families could supplement school less in the limited time available at home, and biologically respectful schedules to honor children’s and working families’ time.

Behold, the release of that collaboration! The report, Work of Our Own: An Action Plan to Solve, Resolve, and Ultimately Advance Women in Business, has 78 solutions for an audience of CEOs, public policymakers, and women. Included are also 24-Hour CEO Challenges for how business can make a difference for women (p.40), and advice directly for working women to help themselves (p.41).

You can find the spotlight on me specifically on pages 30 and 48. Otherwise, my ideas and thoughts are woven throughout, particularly in Recommendations 8 through 10 (p. 28-38).

The experience reinforced my belief that working women’s issues are men’s issues, too. They are family issues. Our society can’t ignore that the norm today is for working families to struggle to do it all, from working, parenting, doing household duties, building community, supplementing education, taking care of the administrative tasks of life in the 21st century, and more.

When I am with my friends, conversations almost always inevitably drift to how pressed we all feel—that we are struggling to find a healthy lifestyle that integrates work and family priorities, and fun! It’s time to make some changes in our own lives, in the workplace, and in our society. America is better than this. We deserve better than this. Let’s make it happen. This report offers some solutions as starting points.

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4 thoughts on “Advancing Women in the Workplace: Integrating Work and Life

  1. Congratulations on your contribution to this outstanding report. I really like the recommendation to invert the traditional practice of having managers approve a request for flexible arrangements; instead managers must get approval to deny it. In my experience I have not had the courage to ask for what I need at work because of fear of being judged or being denied what I need. That fear has been based on outright discrimination when I became pregnant with my second child. I have worked on making changes at home rather than demand changes at work. Would love to hear ways from others to get over this fear of asking for what you need…

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    • It’s so frustrating to hear about your discrimination based on you having children! It seems the reality is that some bosses won’t budge when it comes to being flexible – even female bosses! I hope you learn about other ideas for how to successfully ask for what you want. I know the report does have those advice sections for working women – perhaps there’s something new there for you.

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