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Archive for the ‘Gen Y’ Category

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Equal Pay and the Single Woman

Posted by egehl on May 30, 2012

By Business and Professional Women’s Foundation friend Elisabeth Gehl

As a society, we are obsessed with anything to do with marriage: falling in love, glamorous weddings, gorgeous rings, stunning dresses, and happily ever after.  Consequently single women typically feel that their married counterparts always have a leg up in getting society’s focus and attention.  And while that may be true in many regards, it’s not the case when it comes to electing our political leaders.  Single women proved to be extremely influential in the last two election cycles, and will undoubtedly be again this November.  As a result, Congressional leaders are shifting their priorities this year to move legislation forward that impacts all women, but especially single women.

The number of single women in this country continues to grow and candidates are taking notice. There are 55 million single, divorced, separated or widowed women eligible to vote this year and they share the same unique needs as all women, but often with a further emphasis because most are taking care of themselves, and sometimes their families, alone.

The needs of single women and the issues facing them span the gamut from Generation Y just getting out of college with looming student loans, to the widow that is struggling every month to survive on her Social Security check.  Women now make up about half of all workers and among families with children one in four is headed by a single parent. Many single women feel very vulnerable in their ability to stay economically afloat, and especially need policies that can give them a foundation to succeed.  This is finally starting to resonate with legislators because these women represent an important constituency, and have the ability to determine the outcome of this year’s election.

In 2008, unmarried women were among Barack Obama’s most loyal supporters.  This group of women turned out in droves four years ago and delivered 70 percent of their votes to him.  Two years later during the 2010 mid-term election, the opposite happened when many of them stayed home, and as a result Democrats lost the House and had their Senate majority decreased.  Democrats want to prevent that from happening again with so much at stake for a wide array of women’s issues, including equal pay.

Determined to get single women re-energized and engaged in this year’s election, Senate leaders are reshaping their legislative agenda and advancing an equal pay bill this month, the Paycheck Fairness Act that will enhance women’s ability to win pay Equal Pay Daydiscrimination lawsuits. Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act by improving remedies for pay discrimination, prohibiting employer retaliation, and facilitating class action suits in equal pay claims, among other strategies.

On average, single women have lower household income than married women therefore policies like the Paycheck Fairness Act that address pay disparities are of particular importance to this population.  As our economy continues to be on life support, single women are feeling economically marginalized and that their unique needs and challenges are not being adequately addressed.  Many consider paycheck fairness as one of their top economic issues because they know that to succeed financially they need to be on an equal level playing field with their male counterparts.

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Join us by sharing this and the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.

HERvotes Blogs

Justice for Working Women, Jewish Women International

The Wage Gap: Collective Change Not Choice, National Council of Women’s Organizations

A Jewish Call for Equal Pay, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism

The Facts Behind the Call for Equal Pay, NOW

American Women and Families Deserve a Vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, National Partnership for Women and Families

HERvotes: Paycheck Equality: It’s Not a Suggestion, It’s the Law | CLUW

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Posted in Equal Pay, Gen X, Gen Y, HERvotes, Pay Equity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Gen Y Women Benefit from the Affordable Health Care Act

Posted by egehl on March 20, 2012

Generation Y (Gen Y) women are a powerful force in the workplace.  They are an important constituency vital to developing a diverse and skilled workforce now and into the future.  By supporting young women and giving them the tools they need to succeed everyone wins because they are tomorrow’s thinkers, leaders, and enthusiasts about the issues we care about.  BPW Foundation has focused on Gen Y because we believe that understanding and addressing the needs of these women is critical for maintaining a competitive edge nationally and globally.  Through our Gen Y research, BPW Foundation seeks to understand what these women need in order to be successful in the workplace, and then translate that knowledge into tools that improve how employers recruit, support, and retain young women. We have found that there are many components to the future success of Gen Y women in the workplace, however, recognize that success in the workplace will not happen if they are not healthy.

The health of young women is at the foundation of their success because without it their ability to grow and move forward will inevitably be stymied.  For many young women, being able to take care of their health has been elusive because healthcare is too expensive, they cannot find employment in this tough job market, or they are underemployed with an hourly job that does not offer comprehensive health care.  Thankfully with passage two years ago of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many of those hurdles have been addressed with important components for young women included in the new law.

Most significantly for young women, the Affordable Care Act includes coverage for young adults under the age of 26 through their  parent’s health insurance.  Therefore if an adult’s plan covers children, they can now add or keep their children on their health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.  Before the health care law, insurance companies could remove enrolled children usually at age 19, sometimes older for full-time students.

By allowing young women to stay on a parent’s plan, the law makes it easier and more affordable for them to get health insurance coverage.  This was a key provision because it allows Gen Y women, especially those just coming out of college and looking for jobs, to have a safety net during the first few years they are getting on their feet.  Without it they are left stranded and could face unpredicted health costs.  In addition, these young women can join or remain on their parent’s plan even if they are married, not living with their parents, attending school, not financially dependent, or eligible to enroll in their employer’s plan.

Even though young women may feel invincible when it comes to their health, they still must be mindful of preventative services they should undertake to maintain their health and avoid future illness.  This brings us to another important aspect of the Affordable Care Act for Gen Y women; the coverage of certain preventative services without cost sharing.  This includes coverage for immunizations, depression screening, pap smears, and services for pregnant women.  The more young women take care of themselves now through various preventative services the better off their health will be down the road thereby reducing their future health care costs which will benefit the entire health care system.

Additional aspects of the Affordable Care Act important to Gen Y women, particularly those who are single, include the potential of receiving tax credits to help pay for insurance starting in 2014 if their income is less than $43,000 for a single individual, and their job doesn’t offer affordable coverage.  Also starting in 2014, if a Gen Y woman is unemployed with a limited income of up to $15,000 per year for a single person (higher income for couples/families with children), she may be eligible for health coverage through Medicaid.

As BPW Foundation continues to examine Gen Y women, their career choices and the subsequent consequences these decisions have on their lives, workplaces and society, undeniably health is a part of that overall picture.  As the cost of healthcare rises, it is important that younger generations have the care they need either through their employer or family member so that they can treat and prevent illness.  The Affordable Care Act gives Gen Y women more choices to take care of themselves something that was missing before ACA was passed. And the absence of that option had a detrimental impact on the health of many young women.  Gen Y women need a safety net and available, feasible options to take charge of their health so that they have can a fulfilling career and the opportunities many of them want to give back to their communities.  The Affordable Care Act is a giant step forward in helping to make that happen for this next generation of women.

For more information about how the Affordable Care Act benefit young women please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/choices/young-adult-coverage/index.html.

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Join us by sharing this and the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.

Posted in Gen Y, Health, HERvotes, legislation, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

From Gen Y Women to Employers: What You Need to Know about Intergenerational Workplace Dynamics

Posted by knbarrett on December 15, 2011

Kara Nichols Barrett

By Kara Nichols Barrett, lead project researcher

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation new report – From Gen Y Women to Employers: What They Want in the Workplace and Why it Matters for Business – explores Gen Y women’s career choices and the opportunities and challenges they face in the workplace. Results from our national survey of Gen Y (born 1978-1994) women challenged popular perceptions of Gen Y women in the workplace. Over the last few weeks, we’ve examined key misconceptions related to work values, work-life balance and gender in the workplace.

Today’s topic is intergenerational workplace dynamics. Over 660 Gen Y women told us about:

  • the severity of generational conflict and discrimination in the workplace;
  • their personal experiences with generational conflict and discrimination in the workplace;
  • the common sources of generational conflict and discrimination in the workplace;
  • their responses to generation conflict and discrimination; and
  • their recommendations to help employers improve intergenerational workplace dynamics.

Here are the top three messages from Gen Y women to employers about intergenerational workplace dynamics.

Age Bias isn’t exclusively reserved for mature workers. We’ve read When Generations Collide, and books like it, that describe the workplace as a battlefield. Based on the literature, we too assumed Gen Y would sense the tension between generations. They do. But, not the way we expected. We assumed Gen Y would describe the generational conflict they experienced because of differences in values, communication style, technology use, and work-life balance.  Respondents reported something different. They described experiences with ageism. Robert Neil Butler, who coined the term in the late 1960s, defined ageism as a combination of three elements: prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory behaviors and institutional policies or practices that perpetuate stereotypes against a particular age group. Gen Y women provided examples of all three elements of ageism. Forty-percent of Gen Y women reported not being taken seriously because of their age, being called names such as “kid,” being held to different standards because of their age and being passed over for promotions because of their age.

The phenomenon of ageism in employment is typically applied to older adults. However, more studies are emerging that support the hypothesis that young workers can be disadvantaged in the workplace by age stereotyping. One study found that one-third of all business students had experienced age discrimination in employment – being given relatively low-paid jobs because of beliefs associated with their age and being given less responsibility because of beliefs associated with youth and trustworthiness.

Gen Y + Woman = SOL. What happens when a young worker – already subjected to discriminatory attitudes, policies and practices because of age – also happens to be a woman? The discrimination intensifies. BPW Foundation survey results suggest that gender and age have a compounding effect. Gen Y women who had experienced gender discrimination were more likely to report generational conflict or age bias than those who had not. Over 50 percent of Gen Y women who experienced gender discrimination also reported generational discrimination. Our findings corroborate with previous studies on the gender dimension of ageism in the workplace. One study described being a woman and being young as a “double jeopardy.” Being a woman seems to intensify the age prejudice at work.

You may have the right answer to the wrong question. Management strategies for addressing generational conflict in the workplace assume that workers from different generations clash because of their differences – be they work ethics, work style or communication. Interventions focus on identifying, understanding, appreciating and accommodating differences. Lessons from the literature on ageism indicate an alternate entry point – beliefs, attitudes and perceptions. Studies on ageism in the workplace indicate that it is beliefs about differences, not the differences themselves that lead to discriminatory practices and policies. Posing questions about the differences between generations versus the beliefs about generational differences will lead to different sets of solutions. Gen Y women report that generational diversity is important and recognize the benefits gained from workplaces that include a variety of professional experiences and perspectives. Developing efforts to identify and address age discrimination may be an important strategy for improving intergenerational workplace dynamics.

This research, funded by the Virginia Allan Young Careerist Grant, is part of BPW Foundation’s ongoing “Young Careerist” research project that since 2005 has been exploring the career opportunities and challenges facing today’s young working women.  The research gives voice to a distinct group of working women who are vital to developing a diverse and skilled workforce.  Research has been conducted using social media, focus groups and this national survey. To find all of the research and this report, visit our Young Careerist website.

Posted in Career Advancement, Gen Y, Research, Successful Workplaces, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Tough Job Market for Recent College Grads

Posted by YWM on December 9, 2011

From the
Feminist Majority Foundation’s Feminist Campus Campus Choice Blog

Recent college graduates continue to face a tough job market, two and a half years out from the so-called end of the Great Recession in June 2009.

College tuition has grown faster than inflation or family income. As the cost of a four-year degree has risen, so has college debt, but default on those loans has risen even more sharply over the past 4 years.

Before the Great Recession, the overall student loan default rate was 6.7% in 2007. This year, according to an article published in the New York Times, federal student loan defaults have shot up to 15% of borrowers defaulting in the first two years of repayment. That’s three in twenty young people with a college degree or some higher education who are starting out in life with bad credit. Borrower distress extends beyond those who have already defaulted, as a recent study by the Institute for Higher Education Policy discovered.  A study by the Institute has found that for every borrower who defaults, at least two more fall behind in payments. A mere 37 percent of borrowers who started repaying their student loans in 2005, three years out from the Great Recession, were able to pay them back fully and on time.

The relationship between persistent high unemployment and rising default cannot be ignored. According to the Project on Student Debt, graduates from the class of 2010 carry an average of $25,250 in student debt, but less than half (45.4%) of undergraduates with a degree in the humanities under 25 are employed in a job that requires a college degree, and those lucky employed grads will make on average $20,000 a year.

Political Scientists, Sociologists and History Majors are more likely to find employment in the service industry or temporary work in holiday retail than they are to begin their careers. This kind of set-back, called cyclical downgrading, will cost recent college graduates a 10-15 percent reduction in earnings lasting 10 years or more. Entering the labor market during a recession has two important consequences causing depressed wages; A decline in job quality and a decline of starting wages.

Entry-level jobs in the professions remain crowded with workers who graduated before 2008. Gen Xers and older Mellennials are in turn impatiently waiting for middle-management positions that are themselves crowded with graying (often gray) boomers who postponed retirement when the value of their homes and retirement savings fell dramatically in 2008.

The depressed economic climate will cause unlucky graduates to take jobs in lower paying sectors, then gradually move back up to where they would have been, granted with worse credit. The fact remains, recent graduates will begin their careers with employers that pay less on average or have less room for growth.

Part of the #HERvotes Blog Carnival

Posted in Gen Y, HERvotes, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

From Gen Y Women to Employers: What You Need to Know about Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

Posted by knbarrett on December 7, 2011

By Kara Nichols Barrett, lead project researcher

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation’s new report – From Gen Y Women to Employers: What They Want in the Workplace and Why it Matters for Business – explores Gen Y women’s career choices and the opportunities and challenges they face in the workplace. Results from our national survey of Gen Y (born 1978-1994) women challenged popular perceptions of Gen Y women in the workplace. Over the last two weeks, we’ve examined key misconceptions about  work values and work-life balance.

Today’s topic is gender in the workplace. Over 660 Gen Y told us about:

  • the severity of gender discrimination in the workplace;
  • the most common forms of gender discrimination in the workplace;
  • their personal experiences with gender discrimination in the workplace;
  • their responses to gender discrimination in the workplace; and
  • their recommendations to help employers promote gender equitable workplaces.

Here are the top three messages from Gen Y women to employers about gender discrimination in the workplace.

It’s a problem. Recent studies depict our generation of women as optimistic about gender equality in the workplace.  Employers are told that we don’t perceive gender discrimination as a major problem in the workplace. A study commissioned by Levi Strauss & Co. found that less than one in five Gen Y women in the United States believe that their gender is an obstacle in attaining their work-related goals. Another study found that of all the generational cohorts, Gen Y women are most likely to believe that deliberate discrimination is declining. It’s easy to take these reports and decide that Gen Y women believe gender discrimination is a thing of the past. Not so fast. Just because we expect gender equality doesn’t mean that’s what we experience in the workplace. According to the BPW Foundation survey, almost 50% of us have observed or experienced gender discrimination in the workplace. And, we believe it’s a problem. Over 75% of us believe gender discrimination is a moderate or severe problem in today’s workplace.

It’s a problem that goes beyond deliberate or hostile actions. Yes, deliberate and hostile forms of discrimination still exist. We have experienced sexual harassment, exclusion from professional opportunities and unequal compensation. But one of the most prevalent forms of gender discrimination that we face is stereotyping. It’s a form of discrimination that is much harder for employers to recognize and root out. We recognize that most people don’t think women should be judged by higher standards. Most people would agree that’s unfair, right? Yet, we experience it in the workplace all the time. Why? We inevitably categorize a worker as either a “man” or a “woman.” Cordelia Fine, an academic psychologist and author of Delusions of Gender, argues that when we make the categorization of “man or “woman”:

“We perceive them through the filter of cultural beliefs and norms. This is sexism gone underground- unconscious and unintentional.”

Research also suggests that this “unconscious” prejudice and discrimination is also potentially more harmful for women’s work performance than more blatant forms of discrimination. If you’re concerned about the business costs of gender discrimination – lower productivity and employee morale to name two – and want to tackle discrimination in your organization, you’ll need to identify and address both the explicit and hidden forms of gender discrimination.

 It’s a problem that requires thorough examination. Addressing gender discrimination in the workplace requires more than a policy fix.  How organizations and individuals treat men and women relate to our socially constructed categories of “man” and “woman.” Far too often cultural beliefs and assumptions about men and women workers go unquestioned and examined. As a first step, we suggest that you examine stereotyped assumptions about men and women employees within your organization.

  • How do your organizational policies reflect cultural beliefs and assumptions about men and women?
  • How do your organization’s hiring and promotion practices reflect cultural beliefs and assumptions about men and women?
  • How do interactions between colleagues and supervisors reflect cultural beliefs and assumptions about men and women?

This research, funded from the Virginia Allan Young Careerist Grant, is part of BPW Foundation’s ongoing “Young Careerist” research project that since 2005 has been exploring the career opportunities and challenges facing today’s young working women.  The research gives voice to a distinct group of working women who are vital to developing a diverse and skilled workforce.  Research has been conducted using social media, focus groups and this national survey. To find all of the research and this report, visit our Young Careerist website.

Posted in Career Advancement, Equal Pay, Gen Y, Gender Discrimination, Research, Successful Workplaces, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

From Gen Y Women to Employers: What You Need to Know about Work-Life Balance

Posted by knbarrett on November 30, 2011

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation recently released From Gen Y Women to Employers: What They Want in the Workplace and Why it Matters for Business, a report that explores Gen Y women’s career choices and the opportunities and challenges they face in the workplace. Results from our national survey of Gen Y (born 1978-1994) women challenged popular perceptions of Gen Y women in the workplace. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the key misconceptions across four thematic areas: work values, work-life balance, gender in the workplace and inter-generational workplace dynamics.

By Kara Nichols Barrett, lead project researcher

Today’s topic is work-life balance. Over 660 Gen Y told us about:

  • the relative importance of work-life balance;
  • their definition of work-life balance;
  • challenges to achieving work-life balance; and
  • individual and employer strategies for achieving work-life balance.

Here are the top “do’s” and “don’ts” from Gen Y women to employers on work-life balance.

Don’t underestimate its importance. We know it sounds like a broken record to state yet again that Gen Y women value work-life balance. But, work-life balance is REALLY important. Ninety-six percent of us ranked it as either very important or important. What’s more, the importance we place on work-life balance cuts across our key areas of difference: occupation, marital status, and whether or not we have children. Too often work-life balance is treated only as work-family conflict. This approach misses the mark in three important ways.

  1. It excludes Gen Y workers without children. Work-life balance is equally important to us whether or not we have children. When work-life balance programs and policies favor workers with children, formal and informal rules often preclude Gen Y workers from work-life programs.
  2. It narrowly defines “family.” Almost three-quarters of us reported that family is very important. We are granddaughters, daughters, sisters, aunts, spouses and partners. Our family responsibilities extend beyond the nuclear family.
  3. It disregards responsibilities and interests outside of work and home. There’s more to life than work and home. In addition to work and family, the following aspects of life are also important to us: hobbies (55%), friends (44%), exercise (43%), and volunteering (36%).

Do ask us what it means. Just because the majority of us believe work-life balance is important doesn’t mean that we all understand or define it the same way. Twenty-five percent of us want to maintain separate spheres, 50% want to integrate work and life and 18% believe that work-life balance is really about workplaces better reflecting the realities of the workforce.

Don’t expect us to live up to the 1960s “ideal worker.” We aren’t looking for a policy or programmatic fix; we want different workplace assumptions and rules. Too many of our workplaces are built off of the 1960s “ideal worker” – the worker who is available anytime, anywhere and for as long as you need. Most of us don’t want to be that worker. Most of us believe that work is important and can be meaningful and enjoyable, but we don’t want to mistake our jobs for our lives. If you are really serious about addressing our work-life challenges, you’ll have to explore assumptions about the “ideal worker” and the role of work in an employee’s life.

Do focus on work arrangements.  We know there’s a wide range of programmatic options for employers looking to boost work-life balance. No one is going to complain about onsite health services or a games room, but we suggest that you start with how work is structured. We want programs that address when, where and how work is done. Thirty-seven percent of us said that the most important program an employer could offer is flexible scheduling, 26% said results-based orientation and 15% said telecommuting.

Be sure to check out Chapter Two of the report for a complete overview of our work-life balance research findings and employer implications and applications.

This research, funded from the Virginia Allan Young Careerist Grant, is part of BPW Foundation’s ongoing “Young Careerist” research project that since 2005 has been exploring the career opportunities and challenges facing today’s young working women.  The research gives voice to a distinct group of working women who are vital to developing a diverse and skilled workforce.  Research has been conducted using social media, focus groups and this national survey. To find all of the research and this report, visit our Young Careerist website.

Posted in Families, Gen Y, Research, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Women’s News to Chew On: Link Love for Lunch

Posted by sherrysaunders on November 26, 2011

Successful Workplaces
Census Report shows inequality in paid leave [Better Balance]

Another barrier to maternity leave for those needing it most: knowing about it [Ms Magazine]

Empowered Workforce
Occupy this:  Pass the Equal Rights Amendment [Paper.li]

Gen Y
What employers need to learn and unlearn about Gen Y women in the workplace [Huffington Post]

Saluting Misbehavin’ Women
The woman behind the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade [Forbes]

Female ROTC member challenges stereotype [The Crimson]

How wounded female veteran went from thoughts of suicide to law school [Mlive]

Women are becoming unions’ new voices [New York Times]

Health
Democrats urge Obama to protect birth control in health plans [New York Times]

Self magazine identifies 10 healthiest cities for women [Today MSNBC]

USF Nursing College studying women veterans and PTSD [Healthy State]

Suicide, challenge for service women [New York Times]

Military/Veterans
Law slashes benefits for military widows [Market Watch]

Female veterans face more challenges than male counterparts [ABC]

A University of Illinois discussion on the differences between being a male and a female in the military [Daily Illini]

Agreement elusive on women in combat [Washington Times]

Panetta preparing DOD directive on investigating sexual assaults [Stripes]

Other Important News
Powerful business women wake up early [Forbes]

5 reasons why no super committee deal is better than a bad deal for women [NWLC]

Women, age and ambition: another look [The Glass Hammer]

Small Business
Small business snapshot of women owned businesses [Portfolio]

Invest in women business owners.  They need capital, access and training [Market Watch]

Training women to be financial Angels [Business Week]

National Women’s Business Council unveils new website [Sacramento Bee]

Remember to shop small tomorrow Saturday, November 26.

Posted in Gen Y, Link Love, Small Business, Successful Workplaces, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

From Gen Y Women to Employers: What You Need to Know about Our Work Values

Posted by knbarrett on November 22, 2011

Last week, Business and Professional Women’s Foundation released a new report – From Gen Y Women to Employers: What They Want in the Workplace and Why it Matters for Business. The results from a national survey of Gen Y (born 1978-1994) women challenged popular perceptions of Gen Y women in the workplace. Over the next two weeks, we’ll explore some of the key misconceptions across four thematic areas: work values, work-life balance, gender in the workplace and intergenerational workplace dynamics.

By Kara Nichols Barrett, lead project researcher

Today’s topic is work values. Over 660 Gen Y told us about:

  • how they view work;
  • their most important career values;
  • their “must have” benefits;
  • what motivates them to produce results at work; and
  • what enables them to do their best at work.

Here are the top four messages for employers about Gen Y women’s work values.  

  1. Same Same but Different. Yes, we belong to the same age group. We were influenced by the same historical events such as September 11th, the dot-com bubble, the Columbine High School shooting, and the controversial 2000 elections. Sharing a particular historical period, however, does not translate into shared work values. Literature on Gen Y often suggests that our values are uniform. But, it’s not true. We are more than our age group. Who we are and what we value is also shaped by gender, race, education, and our occupations. Our most important values range from achievement to creativity to altruism to compensation. You’ll be hard pressed to determine a core set of career values for us. If you’re hoping to make an employee/employer values match, it’s best to start by articulating your organizations values and then look for Gen Y women who share those values.
  2. Work ain’t about the cha-ching, cha-ching. We hold work in high regard. Most of us believe that work can be enjoyable and meaningful. Few of us perceive work as drudgery or believe that work is simply about picking up a paycheck. That doesn’t mean that money isn’t important to us, though. In fact, increased pay is one of our top motivating factors for producing results. If you’re looking for strategies to motivate us, here’s our top five: give us a new challenge, increase our pay, increase our responsibility, say “thank you” when we do good work, and consider promoting us.
  3. Please meet our basic needs. We know there are lots of different ideas about our “must have” benefits. Some authors suggest that you should focus on non-traditional benefits to attract us such as: game rooms, exercise rooms and free movie tickets. That may be attractive to some, but it’s important to remember that we’re real people with real needs. We want our basic needs met: health insurance, paid leave and retirement.
  4. You can create an enabling environment for us to succeed. We may have different career values and motivations, but there are five factors that enable us to do our best at work:
  • Having a clear understanding of goals and expectations
  • Having open communication channels with co-workers and supervisors
  • Receiving encouragement from co-workers and supervisor
  • Having our voice heard
  • Having a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities

If you’re serious about creating an enabling environment, you’ll have to explore how gender and age impedes our ability to do our best at work. It’s hard to feel like your voice is heard when you’re referred to as a “girl” or “kid” at work. Be sure to check out chapters three and four of the BPW Foundation report.

This research, funded from the Virginia Allan Young Careerist Grant, is part of BPW Foundation’s ongoing “Young Careerist” research project that since 2005 has been exploring the career opportunities and challenges facing today’s young working women.  The research gives voice to a distinct group of working women who are vital to developing a diverse and skilled workforce.  Research has been conducted using social media, focus groups and this national survey. To find all of the research and this report, visit our Young Careerist website.

Posted in Gen Y, Research, Uncategorized, Workforce Development/HR | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Misbehavin’ Notification: Gen Y Women Still Facing Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

Posted by sherrysaunders on November 20, 2011

New Survey Results from Business and Professional Women’s Foundation

Washington, DCBusiness and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation today released Gen Y Women to Employers: What they Want in the Workplace and Why it Matters for Business, a report that explores Generation Y women’s career choices and the opportunities and challenges they face in the workplace.  This research, based on a national survey conducted in May 2011, disputes many reports in today’s popular literature that Gen Y women do not believe that gender is a problem in today’s workplace.  In fact, 77% of respondents said that gender is a moderate or severe problem in today’s workplace and almost 50% said that they had observed or experienced gender discrimination.

“Far too often Gen Y women are treated as a homogenous group with monolithic perspectives. BPW Foundation’s research questions such views, highlighting how Gen Y women’s workplace expectations and experiences differ by occupation, employer type, compensation type and presence of children,” said Dr. Sheila Barry-Oliver, Chair of the BPW Research and Education Committee that oversaw the research. “Exploring key areas of social difference is vital to understanding Gen Y women’s workplace challenges and opportunities.”

Key findings included concerns about gender and age discrimination, the desire for a holistic approach to work-life balance and the fact that Gen Y women do not hold a uniform set of work values.

  1.  Gen Y women believe Gender Discrimination is Still an Issue in Today’s Workplace. Over 75% of survey participants identified gender as a moderate or severe problem in today’s workplace. The most prevalent forms reported were: stereotyping (63%), unequal compensation (60%), not being treated as an equal (58%), inequality of opportunities (58%), being held to different standards (51%), sexist jokes (38%), and sexual harassment (31%).
  2. Gen Y Women Experience a Double Jeopardy -Gender and Age. Survey results indicate that gender and age may have a compounding effect. Gen Y women who had experienced gender discrimination were more likely to report generational conflict or discrimination than those who had not. Fifty-one percent of Gen Y women who observed or experienced gender discrimination also reported generational discrimination. The most common forms of age discrimination reported were: being perceived as incompetent or inexperienced because of age; name calling such as “kid” and girl”; being passed over for promotions because of age; and being held to different standards because of age.
  3. Gen Y Women Want a More Holistic Approach to Work-Life Balance. Work-life balance literature often focuses on how workers combine work and family responsibilities. Survey results highlight the need to broaden this focus because: 1) Work-life balance is equally important to Gen Y women regardless of whether or not they have children; 2) Family is important for Gen Y women without children; and 3) Gen Y women have responsibilities outside of work and home.
  4. Gen Y Women Hold Disparate Career Values. Gen Y women, as a cohort, did not uniformly report a set of work values. Responses were mediated by various dimensions of difference: occupation, employer type and presence of children. Gen Y women represent a heterogeneity of goals associated with their work life.

“Employers cannot afford to ignore the challenges that Gen Y women face in the workplace. Continuing challenges related to work-life balance and especially to gender and age discrimination have profound business implications. Promoting workplace cultures and practices that embrace equality, flexibility, and inclusivity are imperative for the success and sustainability of business,” explained BPW Foundation CEO Deborah L. Frett.

“For instance, to meet Gen Y women’s work-life balance demands, employers need to move beyond programmatic responses and critically examine their assumptions about the characteristics of the ‘ideal worker.’ Often the ‘ideal worker’ is a person who is available anytime, anywhere and for as long as the employer needs. Gen Y women are largely rejecting this notion.” Frett said. “They are refusing to mistake their job for their life.”

Key Employer Applications from the study include:

  1. Check  assumptions. Employers should examine assumptions about Gen Y women and assumptions underlying workplace policies and practices.
  2. Address the sources not just the symptoms. Designing actions to address work-life balance, gender discrimination and fostering cross-generational relations requires both identifying the condition of inequality and contributing factors to the inequality.
  3. Measure success. Employers should develop indicators to measure the success of actions taken to address challenges and promote opportunities—measures that avoid simply “counting” and that measure changes in levels of gender or age inequality.

This research, funded from the Virginia Allan Young Careerist Grant, is part of BPW Foundation’s ongoing “Young Careerist” research project that since 2005 has been exploring the career opportunities and challenges facing today’s young working women.  The research gives voice to a distinct group of working women who are vital to developing a diverse and skilled workforce.  Research has been conducted using social media, focus groups and this national survey. To find all of the research and this report, visit our Young Careerist website.

Posted in Gen Y, Gender Discrimination, Misbehavin' Notification, Successful Workplaces, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Joining Forces: Women Veterans Speak Out – The Quarter-Life Crisis

Posted by danielleac on October 24, 2011

Read the latest article of BPW Foundation’s every-other-week Joining Forces feature that brings us the voices of women veterans telling their stories.  If you are a women veteran who would like to share your story, please contact us through our Joining Forces for Women Veterans Facebook page, or email dcorazza@bpwfoundation.org.

The Quarter-Life Crisis

(This week’s blog brought to us by Liz Mclean, an Air Force Academy graduate from a small town who has transitioned into the civilian world in search of fulfillment after serving on active duty for four and a half years, both stateside and abroad. She left the service as an O-3.)

 

The concept of the “mid-life” crisis should hit around actual middle age; this dramatic era of self-doubt where people start agonizing over the imminent passing of their youth.

Stereotyping of course, it is what I like to call the Peg Bundy syndrome:  age 55, suddenly transitioning to leopard print leggings, spiked high heels, big hair and ruby red lipstick in search of an undefined dream or goal.  The result of the crisis may end up as this burning desire to make significant changes in essential aspects of day-to-day life; specifically in career and work-life balance. It becomes this constant yearning to find the next challenge.

But for a military woman, what happens when that mid-life crisis occurs at the younger age of 25? The world had best be ready for the women veterans who are going to be taking the world by storm with their eternal ambition.

Liz on Duty

Picture a disciplined military academy college alumnus with an additional graduate degree, who has served stateside and/or overseas in a leadership role in a time of a war. Picture a woman who has tackled any logistical nightmare placed in front of her, impacted lives across varying spectrums, traveled the world for business or pleasure, exhausted her own humanitarian efforts, is financially secure, wears camouflage with her hair neatly in a bun and a tube of lipstick in her back pocket, likely found a significant other (who depending on the female, may or may not have been able to keep up with her), pushed the limits of nearly every physically demanding event… and still has this burning void in life with this undefined definition to “succeed.”

The question starts becoming, what’s next? What do you do when you still have self-doubt because you don’t want to sit back and just relax…but want to continually make a difference on the quest to break away from mediocrity? For me, I am hoping the answer ends up as I join the civilian world where I have to continually prove myself with intellect….while signing up for an Ironman in Texas to prove myself physically. For some of my closest military friends, the answer has been to venture towards medical school as a second career, go back to become a pilot after already serving 5 years as a Maintenance Officer leading hundreds, teach English to Japanese forces, or start her own non-profit organization.

People may squabble over the concept of twenty-something year olds feeling like they have a lack of meaningful goals in their lives: we know we are still considered ‘young’ and have our whole lives ahead of us. The fact of the matter is, when you have accomplished as much as these women in the military have in such a short period of time, there is a feeling of not knowing where to find that next challenge so we don’t look back at age 55 and say “I wish I had accomplished what I wanted when I was younger. “

At the end of the day, these ladies simply wonder, “What’s my next challenge or goal to achieve? Am I doing well enough? I need more.”  

                     Stay tuned for more from the life of Liz McLean….

Posted in Gen Y, Joining Forces for Women Veterans, Uncategorized, Veterans, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »