women in the workplace

March is #womenshistory month


I want to try something new on the blog and feature some new thoughts and themes each month … and I thought that I’d start this month with women’s history month.

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,

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?


Get your research on!


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

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.

When did my Sunday Funday become Loathing Laundry Day

When did my Sunday Funday become Loathing Laundry

… my continuing saga with to find work/life balance (and doing the laundry)

I find myself in the same place almost every Sunday – vowing not to go into the office to get a jump start on the work week but then feeling guilty for doing something “fun” because my house is a mess.

I am probably one of the worse home-makers EVER! I don’t enjoy it, but totally appreciate it when its done. My sweetums and I aren’t the neatest people — we’re prone to clutter — so we’re used to living in a state of “dis-array” but at some point reach that point of ENOUGH!

My general cleaning routine — put the junk in a room I don’t go in and close the door — works for almost everything BUT laundry.  I can skip a couple of weeks of laundry, but the by the third week, there are clothes EVERYWHERE. Sweetums and I have THREE big dogs who will spread it all around and like to lay on it.

So here I am. Sunday evening still tackling all the laundry and feeling no better prepared to get my week started off we’ll rested and recharged.

As I stated earlier, I’m not much into doing chores at my house — but laundry is the worse. I thought it might be crazy (and really lazy in the terms of house cleaning) but turns out that I may not be alone.

Laundry, dinner planning, and doing the dishes are by far my least favorite chores, but picking up the house and mopping the floors (especially with three dogs) aren’t far behind for me (and we don’t even have kids yet!).

I need a “Loathing Laundry Day” intervention! How do I turn “I hate laundry” to “I don’t mind laundry”?  — and make more time for the things that I like to do vs. the things that I need/should do. Work- Life balance is something that I am really trying to instill into my team, but I feel like be a leader with good examples and practices and not just a generic mouth of HR or management and say “you need to find work life balance” or “find what fills your bucket and make time for those things.”

Today I hate laundry, but I’m going to spend 2013 moving the needle (let’s focus on the laundry and maybe the other chores will fall in line) and finding balance and more time for ME and the things that I “fill my bucket” and energize me!

Do you have the same struggles? Do you consider home time/chore time as “life” time or “work” time (I’m of course making the case for the later FOR ME, but would love to hear other thoughts on it).

Let’s do some research and get a plan in place!  Right after I finish the laundry for the week…