women issues

March is #womenshistory month

womens-history-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.

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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,

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

I Just Might be Tootsie! Should I Care?

I’ve come across this video a few times in my news-feed this week and finally got the chance to watch it.  I posted a blog – years ago- about the beauty premium and I thought about that as I finished up the video clip.

I’ve listened to the end about 5 times and the line “…that was never a comedy for me” just really sticks with me.

Ladies — do you feel it? A pressure to be “attractive” or more attractive than you are or at least as attractive as you can be?

Do you feel like you are treated differently depending on how “attractive you are?”

Yesterday,  I would have said, “I’m a lady who doesn’t care about looks and I’d be silly to care.  What you see is what you get. I want to be judged on my mind and personality, not on what I look like.” I rarely wear makeup, except mascara and lip gloss/chapstick. I often wear my hair in a ponytail or bun to work. I wear t shirts and flip flops to the office (yup still can’t shake those flip flops). My sense of fashion has been questioned on more than one occasion (I call it “power clashing” or “the messy professor”). I get dolled up for special occasions. People do a double take when they see photos of my from when I’m outside of work and I have my hair done and makeup on and they ask, “is that you?!?!”

But today, after watching the video and giving it some thought — Am I a Tootsie?  Do I wear the badge of ugly duckling proudly because I’ve given in and been brainwashed too. “Hey I don’t measure up to society’s thoughts of attractiveness, but look at my big brain and incredibly quick wit?” Or am I just proudly waving my freak flag and keeping it weird? Its Saturday morning and I’m confused. 🙂

Confusion is a good thing because that leads to discussion! I want to delve a bit deeper into the role of attractiveness and how we perceive ourselves and others? Is there really a difference? And let’s reprise the topic of the “beauty premium.”

Under pressure, Facebook targets sexist hate speech – CNN.com

Under mounting pressure from activists and advertisers, Facebook is ramping up efforts to stamp out hate speech, particularly depictions of violence against women.

The move, announced Tuesday, came after a weeklong campaign by women’s groups targeting pages that celebrated or made light of rape, domestic violence and sexual degradation of women.

“In recent days, it has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate,” Marne Levine, a Facebook vice president in charge of public policy, wrote in a post on the site.

“In some cases, content is not being removed as quickly as we want. In other cases, content that should be removed has not been or has been evaluated using outdated criteria. We have been working over the past several months to improve our systems to respond to reports of violations, but the guidelines used by these systems have failed to capture all the content that violates our standards. We need to do better — and we will.”

via Under pressure, Facebook targets sexist hate speech – CNN.com.

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.