Happily Ever After…?

Men & Women's Expectations vs. Reality on Child Care Responsibility

Men & Women’s Expectations vs. Reality on Women’s Child Care Responsibility. Source: HBR

The issue of gender equality in the workplace is a biggie, and one that I was waiting to tackle for now.  But I just had to share this recent article from Harvard Business Review: Rethink What You “Know” About High-Achieving Women.

The authors examined a large sample of Harvard MBA grads spanning many decades, and found an important piece to the gender gap puzzle: At-home expectations of (gender) roles play a part in explaining career achievements.

I strongly encourage you to read the whole article, as the authors can obviously do it far more justice than I could.  But if you’re too busy, here’s the takeaway: If you’re married, in a relationship, or plan to be in one at some point in your life, your partner’s expectations of your roles in the relationship matter (obviously).  If your partner holds “traditional” views (i.e. that a woman’s role is as caregiver, and a man’s as breadwinner), then your own career aspirations are likely to suffer.  On the other hand, if you are lucky enough to have a partner who is truly a partner, then your work life will likely be far more satisfying.

But if you are in the former position, fear not.  For the most part, views on expected roles aren’t set in stone, and a few discussions with your boo about your values and expectations for work/family division can help get you, can make the two of you an unstoppable couple 🙂

And as inspiration, my all-time favourite TV couple, Brad & Jane.  Happy Friday!

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Now.

I have been thinking about this blog for years. I purchased the domain over a year ago, and set up the bones of the blog last February. But it has taken me until now to finally write my first post. There was always something that made me say to myself “I’ll start the blog when [PhD proposal/dissertation study/best friend’s wedding/etc. etc.] is over”.

What finally got my butt in gear? Well, like Ron & Harry, I was straightened out by Hermione, of course. Emma Watson, as the UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, gave a passionate and motivating speech about gender equality. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and click here and then visit http://www.heforshe.org. Vanity Fair called the speech “game changing”, and I’d have to agree.

In her speech, Emma asks, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

Touché Hermione, touché.

So here I am NOW (I realize the speech was a couple weeks ago, give me a break), finally putting fingers to keyboard, to finally realize my vision of a blog where anyone could come to learn about issues facing women in the workplace, and discover tips to make themselves and those around them better, happier employees and leaders. It’s a daunting task to make the working world an equal and happier place, so please bear with me and come back each week for a bit more.

For today, let’s start with a very quick look at the core issues relevant to this blog – leadership, women in the workplace, and feminism:

  • Leadership: There’s a misconception on what it is to “lead” and what it is to “manage”.  Many use the words interchangeably.  Not at this blog. “Leadership” is anything one person does to influence another or a group.  Anyone can be a leader.  Anyone can be a great leader.  Anyone can be a terrible leader.  I hope to show you how to avoid the terrible, and reach for the great.
  • Gender Equality: Chances are, if you’re reading this blog you’re already aware of the 70% stat that is so often thrown around – women on average make 70% of the pay that men do in the same position.  Pretty crappy, yes.  On top of this, women often face “the glass ceiling” – a difficulty in moving from middle-management to senior management positions and above in organizations.  In the US, women hold over 50% of management & professional jobs, but as the rank of those jobs increases, female representation dwindles.  Answering why these phenomena exist is difficult (the Clinton Foundation has undertaken an initiative to help out), but researchers have discovered many clues and potential solutions, which I will share here.
  • The New F-Word: Feminism.  I’m a feminist, I hope you’re a feminist, and I’m always taken aback by those who say they are not.  Thankfully, the work of many prominent individuals such as Taylor Swift, Lena Dunham, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (to name only a few) are finally bringing the real definition of feminism to the mainstream.  There is one question you need to ask yourself to know if you’re in the company of these brilliant individuals: Do you think that men and women should have equal rights? If you answered yes, congratulations, you’re a feminist, YOU ROCK!  If you answered no, then I sincerely hope that you will read about the issues facing women around the world, think about the women who have touched your life, and reevaluate your views.

I will leave it there for today.  Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy day to read this.  Please don’t hesitate to give me a shout if you have any questions or suggestions (e-mail here), and be sure to visit my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.

In the words of the first female news anchor of the Channel 4 News, thanks for stopping by!