women in the workplace

The Gender Bias Gap is So Much Worse Than I Thought

I’ve always tried to be positive in general about overall gender and racial biases — so much to the point that my parents who lived during a *much* different time always thought I was naive.  I don’t really like to take about race (but that doesn’t mean that I don’t care or don’t have opinions on it) — but gender is different. I don’t often focus on the fact that I am a woman — its not something that I often think about — and yes I know the irony of that coming from someone who refers to themselves as the GIRL in HR.

However, I came across this article this afternoon and was heartbroken — pain in my chest, heartbroken. It made me sad.

Shortly after Kathryn Tucker started RedRover, an app that showcases local events for kids, she pitched the idea to an angel investor at a New York tech event. But it didn’t go over well. When she finished her pitch, the investor said he didn’t invest in women.

When she asked why, he told her. “I don’t like the way women think,” he said. “They haven’t mastered linear thinking.” To prove his point, he explained that his wife could never prioritize her to-do lists properly. And then, as if he was trying to compliment her, he told Tucker she was different. “You’re more male,” he said.

This Is What Tech’s Ugly Gender Problem Really Looks Like By   

I’m not even sure what I would say if someone said this to me — especially in a professional setting. Do people *really* still think like this? And if so… do they *really* let these things come out of their mouths … in public? ”

At this point in time — I don’t think I have any commentary or thoughts. I am seriously speechless … I’ve been staring at a blinking cursor for 25 minutes. For me, this is a time to think and reflect — we have come so far, but we still have a long way to go.

How can we even talk about “leaning in” and “gaining a seat at the table” when people of influence and power think and act in such a way?

My parents were probably right about me…

Take a look at the article for yourself and let me know what you think — its a little lengthy, but worth the read — also — don’t skip the comments (normally I do) — there are some good (and bad) examples of gender biases.

Making the HR connection, yours,

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What You Need to Know about the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA)

I got an email today from SHRM to tell me more about the Paycheck Fairness Act. It could go to a vote as soon as tomorrow, April 9, you want to get versed on it pretty quickly.

SHRM’s take on the PFA is that the PFA would significantly limit the flexibility of HR professionals to compensate their employees.

After doing a bit of research, I’m inclined to agree. We have the Equal Pay Act of 1963 — why do we need the PFA? I’m not sure that I totally buy that it will help equalize pay between men and women. I actually still have some questions on the “wage gap.”

Here are a few more points from SHRM (quickly and nicely packaged) in why the PFA is not a good idea:

*  Restrict employee compensation – The PFA would effectively prohibit an organization from basing its pay decisions or compensation system on many legitimate factors, such as an employee’s professional experience, education, or the company’s profitability. In practice, this would take away many factors HR professionals use to compensate their employees and could particularly discourage employers from providing bonus pay. Also, employees would be barred from negotiating for higher wages because of the wage disparity that could result.

*  Allow government wage data collection – The PFA would empower the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor to collect wage information from employers of all sizes, a time-consuming and unnecessary exercise that would only facilitate litigation.

I personally am not all about the second bullet — one, it feels too “big brotherish” and two, its one more administrative thing for HR pros to have to spend time on managing.  The bill is suppose to help impact the wage gaps between men and women… but I don’t think that this is the way to go about it.

Here are a few other reads that I think you should check out — but you know me, I’m always going to tell you to do some research, get the information, and arm yourself with knowledge — make your own opinion. Put down Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram and get after it.

Now this isl egislation — as always, don’t think about this from a “party line” issue — look at it objectively — look at the issue and THEN make up your own mind. Let’s discuss — but keep to the issues of HR and pay — and not the politics. Although so many of the articles are pinning things one party against the other — try to ignore that and stay neutral.

These will help you get started:

So what do you think?

          OR      

Get your research on!

Yours,

We Should Applaud NY Mets’ Daniel Murphy for taking Paternity Leave

So many of you know, I’m not a “big” sports fan (Horns, tennis, boxing, and MMA is about all I follow .. and poorly at that), but we’ve got a big story with some HR implications coming out of sports news.

photo credit: Yahoo! Sports

Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy put fatherhood ahead of baseball, and now, some outraged New York Sports radio hosts are outraged.

Since 2011, Major League Baseball has allowed players up to three days paternity leave, but some outraged New York Sports radio hosts say that when you’re making millions, “one day off is plenty.”

“All right, one day, I understand,” said WFAN morning host Mike Francesa. “In the old days they didn’t do that. One day, go see the baby be born, and then come back. You’re a Major League Baseball player — you can hire a nurse!”

“You get your a** back to your team and you play baseball,” added WFAN’s Craig Carton. “That’s my take on it. There’s nothing you can do anyway. You’re not breastfeeding the kid.

Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/04/mets-player-daniel-murphy-s-paternity-leave-causes-controversy-101816.html#ixzz2xv5D3JLk

You know me. I’m going to have to throw out my typical “girl in HR” catch-phrase, “seriously?!?” Three days is hardly extraneous… and I find the other comments just offensive. Just because a man doesn’t birth the baby doesn’t mean that he has any less right to have bonding time with the child. These radio hosts views are just off, imho. Do they think its ludicrous for the man to be in the delivery room, to go to parenting class — I border that their comments might lead someone who doesn’t know them better that they think that birth and raising children is “woman work.” We’ve moved SO far past that.

photo credit: bavia.com

So stepping off the soap-box and let’s make the HR connection. Paternity leave. In the US, women AND men can take up to 12 weeks off to care for a newborn if they qualify for FMLA leave. Some companies go beyond that and have added additional maternity and paternity benefits to help encourage employees to take that time off by helping to eliminate some of the financial burdens of staying home to care and bond for a child. I wish I could put my hands on some updated data, but the trend is that many men don’t take full advantage of benefits that may be available to them — now the reasons for that can be anything from financial to thoughts on their place on raising children — and every combination in between.  I think that one thing that we can do in HR is to help put programs in place that will help facilitate and encourage expecting parents, regardless of gender, to take the time off that they need… if they want to. We should also applaud and speak positively about examples, such as Daniel Murphy, of men who are taking the time off and using their benefits. Parental leave is not a “working woman’s issue” anymore… its an issue of work-life balance and that is bigger than either gender alone.  We don’t need to force the choice, but provide options for people to use and make their own decisions — and don’t talk crap or be negative when people take advantage of benefits afforded to them.

As an aside, on this story Daniel Murphy takes high road while Terry Collins fires back after Mike Francesa and Boomer Esiasion question Mets’ paternity leave from NY Daily News there is a poll for readers to partipate in that asks: Do you think Mike Francesa is over the line questioning Daniel Murphy’s paternity leave? When I took it the results showed 86% YES and 14% NO.

I’m interested to see where the story develops — from a work-life, parental leave, and HR perspective — I’m sure that the story will continue to be popular over the next few days or week — but let’s try to keep the underlying point of the story developing and out front.

Making the HR connection, yours,

 

 

 

Want to see more of the story — here’s a few more links and a videos:

 

26% of U.S. women still choose not to work… and maybe we should be okay with that

I came across an article titled” Why 26% of U.S. women still choose not to work”this morning while I was doing my morning rounds of the news. Here is the link to the full article, but here are the highlights:

  • Sixty years ago, American women began heading off to the workplace in droves. But in the last couple of decades, that trend has completely stalled out
  • In 1950, only 37% of women ages 25-54 participated in the labor force — meaning they had a job or were looking for one. The number rose rapidly, climbing to 74% by 1990
  • Today, still only 74% of women are active in the U.S. workforce, little changed in the last 25 years, and trailing far behind many other developed countries.
  • As of last year, America ranked 27th out of 37 developed countries for women’s labor force participation, according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.
  • The United States remains the only major industrialized country in the world that doesn’t mandate some sort of paid parental leave
  • Since the economic downturn in 2007, births have declined 8%.
  • Between 1985 and 2011, average child care costs rose 70% for working moms, after adjusting for inflation, according to the U.S. Census. Meanwhile, wages have barely budged.
  • women in the United States who do work are more likely to make it into professional and managerial roles. They’re also more likely to work full-time, and as a result, earn more money over their lifetimes.

Okay — so after I read the article I’m still no sure that I know WHY US women still choose not to work. Other than, its just that — A CHOICE. First off, the geek in me LOVES the data, numbers, and facts. I think it helps to give some context — but it doesn’t tell you the whole story. I found myself asking more questions and wanting to know more about these women — their education background, do they have a support network to help with childcare and if not, do they have access to top notch childcare, do they have a partner (is that by choice) — and as I started to think of my list of questions I stopped.

This headline grabbed my attention because something about it assumes that everyone WANTS to work and have kids. I’m not even sure that we can assume that everyone wants to work. 🙂 What if that IS an option for you and that is what you choose to do. It won’t be an option or desire for everyone.

I am not saying that there are not opportunities for new benefits, but let’s give businesses the leeway to offer some choices –and women the option to choose where they want to work — and IF they want to work. After all — it IS a choice.. What is right for you? What do YOU need to find balance?

Has anyone considered that “having it all” doesn’t mean that you have to have it all right now? There are different stages in life – what is right for you NOW?  Figure it out and own it — don’t let the government, your business, or society tell you what is right for you.

… but then again, what do I know? ..childless tree-hugging hippie here 🙂  — for now

Kids, benefits, childcare, work life balance — all on the minds of your employees — what’s your take and what’s your play?

PS — why is this all just a “woman’s problem” — men don’t have the same issues? — perhaps another post for another day – 🙂

Making the HR connection, yours

Mom’s work is never done – and now it’s worth less, too – Life Inc.

If moms earned wages for the work they do around the house and with the kids, they’d be getting a pay cut this year.

The take-home pay that a mother would earn for everything from cooking to handling the family finances would total at $59,862 if she were paid on the open market, according to Insure.com’s analysis of government data on hourly wages.

That’s down from $60,182 in 2012 and $61,436 in 2011, Insure.com’s annual Mother’s Day Index shows.

The drop is because typical wages for some domestic jobs have fallen, said Amy Danise, a spokeswoman for Insure.com.

via Mom’s work is never done – and now it’s worth less, too – Life Inc..

Career Coaching | ADVANCE | How to Advance Your Career

here comes the moment in a woman’s career when you realize: being good isn’t good enough.

Maybe you get passed over. Or you discover that the departmental fool is earning as much as you. (I remember that one.) You’re feeling underappreciated, perhaps even invisible. Despite the outstanding outcomes, the extra miles, the collegial contributions, your career has stalled.

The thing is, there are job skills, and there are career skills. Being good—even great—at your job doesn’t guarantee that your career will advance. As a career coach for women, I see the same pattern over and over again: the smart woman learns very early in life to put her head down and earn her “A.” That strategy works well while we’re in school, and even for the first several years in the workplace.

But sooner or later, the “gold star” isn’t enough to distinguish you or advance your career. That’s when I receive the pained phone call from a rising star who doesn’t understand why she’s in career free-fall.

As much as you’ve honed your job skills to a fine point, you need to do the same with your career advancement skills. After years helping smart, ambitious women get their careers back on the fast track, I’ve identified the five essential career accelerator skills. I’m sorry to say, there is no silver bullet. Career advancement is a matter of deploying these five basic capacities. But how hard can that be for the smartest woman in the room?

via Career Coaching | ADVANCE | How to Advance Your Career.

Patty O’Connor Lauritzen: “Choices” of a Working Mother

One day, it happened. I realized that I had “made it.” Wife, mother, career woman.

That’s cool, I thought. Good for me! Snaps for Mommy!

And then, it started to sink in.

I live in a community of career women where the dads organize daddy play-dates. They pack one kid in a carrier and one kid up on the shoulders and they head out on grand adventures.

Initially, the photos I took of them as I headed off to work were novel and fun — all the daddies with their flexible work schedules off for a hike with the babies and toddlers. My husband texts me pictures of them all having a good time.

And I look at those pictures while sitting in meetings or at my desk in an office building an hour away.

What happened?

Super mom, doesn’t feel so super anymore.

via Patty O’Connor Lauritzen: “Choices” of a Working Mother.