BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Archive for the ‘Gender Discrimination’ Category

Equal Pay for Working Women Would Boost the Economy

Posted by YWM on February 6, 2014

Equal Pay DayFive years after the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act-a bill that reinstated women’s ability to contest unlawful pay discrimination and the first bill signed into law by President Obama-analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) finds that the poverty rate for working women would be cut in half if women were paid the same as comparable men, and that greater pay transparency would increase women’s pay.

Nearly 60 percent (59.3 percent) of women would earn more if working women were paid the same as men of the same age with similar education and hours of work. The poverty rate for all working women would be cut in half, falling to 3.9 percent from 8.1 percent. The high poverty rate for working single mothers would fall by nearly half, from 28.7 percent to 15.0 percent. For the 14.3 million single women living on their own, equal pay would mean a significant drop in poverty from 11.0 percent to 4.6 percent.

Persistent pay discrimination for women translates into lower wages and family income in families with a working woman. The gender pay gap also affects the economy as a whole: in 2012, the U.S. economy would have produced additional income of $447.6 billion (equal to 2.9 percent of 2012 GDP) if women received equal pay.

“Unequal pay for women has had a negative effect on women and men, alike,” said IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. “Paying women fairly for their work would go a long way in reducing poverty and giving the economy the jump start it needs.”

“Today, too many workers are discouraged from sharing the pay information that would give women the tools they need to challenge pay levels,” said IWPR Vice President and Executive Director Barbara Gault, Ph.D.

Nearly half of all workers are either prohibited or strongly discouraged from discussing their pay with their colleagues. The gender wage gap in the federal government-with high levels of pay transparency-is only 11 percent, compared with 23 percent nationwide.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.

Advertisements

Posted in Equal Pay, Gender Discrimination, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Finally breaking the “green jacket” ceiling

Posted by egehl on August 28, 2012

Almost ten years ago, I remember well when the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO) brought up the issue of the all-male Augusta National Golf Club refusing to admit women into its prestigious club.  NCWO led a push to crack the club’s longstanding policy against female membership which included a high-profile protest during the 2003 Masters tournament.

At the time, I was a young woman fresh out of graduate school and quite frankly didn’t really understand why it was such a big deal and worth the effort, especially given the many other pressing issues facing women’s rights.  So what if men wanted to have their own club?  As a member of a sorority in college, I certainly knew plenty of same sex organizations and clubs that operated without an issue, and each gender was fine with that exclusive make-up.

However, what I quickly learned was that Augusta National was different because of the stature and influence of its all-male members.  And by shutting women out it was sending a message that it was fine to keep women out of the halls of power, and away from where important business decisions were being made.

It is well known that golf is a popular way for professionals to network, share ideas, and get exposed to higher-level people that can advance their career.  Augusta National is no exception and represents a place where powerful business men come together and ultimately benefit each other’s work.  Without women part of the membership it sent a clear message that they are not significant enough to take part in the important business discussions taking place every day in the club, and on the golf course.

Last week Augusta National announced that after 80 years the club will admit its first two women, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore, into the club this fall.  The unexpected announcement garnered a wide array of reaction ranging from praise for the decision to does it really matter in the context of Todd Akin’s ignorant remarks about rape.

So what is the significance of the “boys club” finally changing?  Does it will really help women in the long run? And how symbolic is this decision made by club chairman Billy Payne?

Ultimately the move to admit these accomplished women is symbolic because it shows the importance of getting women access to the business elite.  For decades women have worked hard to earn a right to be in the halls of power in companies and organizations across the country.  Therefore August National’s decision to admit women is an important step in recognizing that women deserve to be in a room filled with accomplished men, and should have access to the same networking opportunities.

While the move may seem insignificant to some in the whole scheme of advancing women in the workplace, anytime there’s a “win” in making sure that women are on an equal playing field as men is important and all part of advancing women’s rights.  When corporate leaders publicly participate in activities that keep women out, it makes a very public statement about the value of women workers and their contribution to the enterprise, no matter their position in the company.  And in today’s society with women making up half the workforce, it’s ludicrous for women leaders to not be in those activities because their experience and point of view should be a part of those discussions and networks.

As Deborah Frett, CEO of the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, said on NPR “It was never really about golf.  It’s always been about power and keeping women out of the halls of power and away from where business decisions are made.”

Not all single sex organizations and clubs are the same, and those whose policies present barriers to women’s advancement in the workplace should integrate so that there’s a level playing field in networking, exchange of ideas, and exposure to power.  A club like August National represents power and women should not be kept out of the halls of power in the 21st century when women have ascended to roles of stature in government, business, law, medicine and many other fields.

Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore are ground breaking women and strong choices to break the Augusta National “green jacket” ceiling.  They represent the accomplishments and strides that women have made in the workplace and I have no doubt they will be able to go “toe-toe” with the Augusta members not only in discussions in the dining room, but on the golf course as well.  I hope they represent the first of many future female members wearing the green jacket.

Posted in Diversity, Feminism, Gender Discrimination, Lifestyle, Misbehavin' Notification | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The role of women in international housing

Posted by egehl on August 22, 2012

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of traveling to the other side of the world for the first time.  I’ve always heard that being in Asia was quite different and a unique experience, and I certainly found that to be true when I ventured to the Philippines.  The purpose of the trip was to join my colleagues from Habitat for Humanity to take part in an international development course to learn about informal housing, urbanization, and what to do about the housing crisis facing cities worldwide.  I am new to international housing as my work has always focused on US related matters and policies, therefore I found this chance be exposed to the housing issues and challenges facing populations in need abroad an exciting opportunity.

The Philippines is known for having a large poor population, especially overcrowded Manila which is the most densely populated city in the world, with almost half of its citizens considered to be urban poor.  The city is grappling with how to properly house its neediest citizens, and what to do about the existing substandard housing that so many live in.  NGO’s like Habitat are trying to address this challenge and come up with ways to deal with the lack of adequate housing in a growing city.  It’s overwhelming when you think about it, but there are incremental ways to tackle this problem and one of those is by empowering women.

The full involvement of women is the best guarantee that any housing project will be a success.

Women must play a full role in all planning and implementation of improving living conditions.  They are the ones who already have strong social networks within a community and are often the primary caretakers of the community’s homes and households.  They have the most to gain from a good community housing project, and the most of to lose if their housing conditions are bad or unsafe.

Current statutory and customary laws in many countries limit women’s access to land and other types of property.  In fact, women own less than 15 percent of land worldwide, which is why a new land tenure law in Bolivia is notable.  The new law state’s that property rights should be registered in favor of both spouses or partners, detailing their full name.

Until now only a man’s name was on land rights documentation and if he had a spouse or partner it would not say the actual name of the spouse.  This caused confusion around land rights, and if the man had a mistress she could claim rights to the property.  This change appears to be such a small development, yet so consequential for Bolivian women because a full name on documentation is the first step to ensuring their land rights.

Involving women in housing around the globe, whether it’s around land rights or improving their living conditions, is key to creating healthier, safer, and better housing for families.  When improving informal housing settlements, often women have the greatest ability to mobilize support or opposition to any intervention in their settlement so their full involvement and participation is instrumental to any housing project.  Involving women in housing, like the example in Bolivia, also builds capacities and confidence while it enhances a woman’s status and helps undermine entrenched patterns of inequality.  When women play a large role in their housing situation, it ensures that the design of the home and community matches their family’s needs, and it enhances their status in the community as key actors in its long-term development.

There have been policies to address women’s needs in poor countries such as the Global Resources for Women to Thrive, or GROWTH Act, which passed in 2010.  This bill created an incentive fund at USAID to actively encourage economic opportunity projects that incorporate women’s needs in developing countries.  It offers women a range of tools to lift themselves out of poverty by helping them start and expand businesses, enhance their land and property rights, and help to ensure their access to the benefits of trade.

In order for countries like the Philippines to address their housing challenges and be able to provide affordable homes for their low-income populations they must take gender equity into consideration, especially if a woman is the head of the household.  This entails three key elements including advancing women’s equal participation as home partners and financial managers, protecting human rights for women and girls, and reducing inequality to resources by including women as decision makers at the household and community level.

Posted in Advocacy, Financial Security, Gender Discrimination, Global | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nowhere Near Equal: Reflections on Equal Pay Day

Posted by YWM on April 17, 2012

 by Kathy Groob,
Publisher ElectWomen Magazine

Tonight I’ll be speaking to the Coshocton Ohio Chapter of The Business & Professional Women’s Organization in honor of Equal Pay Day. The National Committee on Pay Equity first initiated Equal Pay Day in 1996. It’s always on a Tuesday, to represent how far into the workweek women have to work in order to earn what men earn for equal work. Because women on average earn less than men, they must work longer to earn the same amount of pay.

Women who work full time earn about 77 cents for every dollar men earn. Compared to white men, African American women make 70 cents on the dollar (African American men make 74 cents); Hispanic or Latina women make about 60 cents (Hispanic men make almost 66 cents).

The National Committee on Pay Equity, along with hundreds of women’s organizations across the globe believe that equal pay for equal work is a simple matter of justice for women.

Wage discrimination impacts the economic security of families today and directly affects retirement security as women look down the road.

But despite the Equal Pay Act and many improvements in women’s economic status over the past 48 years, wage discrimination still persists and is attributable in part to the Equal Pay Act’s limited scope. Not only does it fail to cover wage discrimination based on race (although Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act does), it also fails to provide equal pay for jobs that are comparable but not identical. Further, it excludes part-time or contingent workers, and does not allow groups of workers to file class action suits.

I’ve spent over 30 years as a businesswoman and have my fair share of stories about feeling discriminated against, undervalued for the results I was producing, and being paid less than what I was worth. Until I left to run for the Kentucky Senate, I was a Vice President at a large real estate development and construction firm. I was the first female at the executive level in my company and working in an industry that was heavily dominated by men.

Most days I was the only female in meetings and attending industry events. Over time I was able to make positive changes for the women in the organization and helped recruit other women at leadership levels.

The National Committee on Equal Pay has a website and on it is a list of suggestions for what employers and individuals can do to promote equal pay for women.

One of the items for individuals is to contact your state legislators and members of Congress asking them to support equal pay legislation.

But with the majority of those state legislative and Congressional members being men, how much of a priority will it be for them to level the playing field for men?

Without enough women in elected office, women in business, women in law enforcement, education, health care and even in the entertainment and movie businesses, we will continue to be under valued and under paid.

Until we are fully represented at the highest levels in this country, women must band together, support each other and work to advance women in the workplace and in politics. When one woman succeeds, we all succeed.

Information provided by the National Committee on Equal Pay.

Posted in Equal Pay, Equal Pay Day, Gender Discrimination, Pay Equity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

International Women’s Day is just around the corner!

Posted by egehl on February 29, 2012

International Women’s Day is just around the corner and will be celebrated this year on March 8th!

International Women’s Day was first observed in the early 1900’s in an effort to draw global attention to the fight for women’s equality and rights to work, vote, hold public office, and to ultimately end gender discrimination.  In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating March 8th as International Women’s Day.  Each year a theme is chosen and this year’s theme is “Empower Rural Women-End Hunger and Poverty”.

For women around the world, the day symbolizes an opportunity to reflect on the strides they have made and to call on new generations of women to participate in the work of making our world more gender equitable.  It’s an occasion to review how far women have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development, and an opportunity to unite, network and mobilize for meaningful change in the future.

There are many ways to honor and participate in International Women’s Day.  Personally, I support the day as a Women for Women International sponsor and donor.

I’ve sponsored 7 women survivors of war who have participated in a year-long program run by Women for Women International that educates and empowers them to improve their economic, personal, and social opportunities.  I have enjoyed playing a small role in supporting women internationally so that more doors are open to them to not only better their lives, but the lives of their families.  As a woman who has been given so many luxuries and privileges over my lifetime, I feel that it’s important that women around the world have the chance to access the same opportunities.  Women for Women International will be celebrating International Women’s Day by participating in the third annual Women in the World Summit held in New York City.

There are a variety of activities happening here and around the world in honor of International Women’s Day.  Over 1,000 events have been registered on the International Women’s Day website.  Thus far, the United States and the UK have the most events planned.

There is also still time to plan your own event!  For example, Women’s World Banking has put together a toolkit on how to organize an event on or around March 8th.  No event is too small and they can range from hosting a tea, attending a lecture, or participating in a benefit walk.  Women’s World Banking is a micro-finance network working to help women around the globe become full participants in the economies of their countries.  Learn more about the organization and view a copy of their International Women’s Day toolkit to gain ideas on what to do this year.

With the surge of social media, you can follow International Women’s Day on Twitter and there is a designated Facebook page as well.

I think the most important thing about International Women’s Day is that in addition to the equity struggles we continue to experience here at home, we need to remember the plight of women abroad who have the same needs, goals and desires as us.  However unfortunately often times they face greater barriers to achieve them. Therefore due to our unique position in the world as American women we should take active steps to support them.  You can start by participating in an International Women’s Day event in your community.

Posted in Families, Gender Discrimination, Women's History Month | Tagged: , , , | 3 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 »

Daggers

Posted by YWM on November 29, 2011

By Patty Tanji
Open Workplace

“The guy leading the way is the one with all the arrows in his back”

“Bravery and valor” is one of my signature strengths.  If you want to know yours head over to Authentic Happiness powered by some great research by positive psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania.  I’m not sure to whom the above quote is attributable but thought it appropriate for me and anyone else who feels the calling to speak the unspeakable, and do the undo-able.   As I journey through my own experiences on a path to becoming self enlightened — its important to know a few daggers will be hurled my way.  The key to surviving and thriving in a world that wants me to conform to someone else’s definition of success is to live life on solid footing, knowing who I am, and what makes me feel most alive. That’s my definition of success. And, it would be great to have some company.

As a person who woke up one day with a business degree in one hand and a 9 month old in the other, I believed I could change the world, or at least make our workplaces more family friendly.  I was not prepared for the opposition I would encounter along the way.  The status quo is firmly entrenched in the human psyche and that includes how we do business in America and throughout the globe.  Any threat to intervene in a world by revealing a different perspective will meet resistance from within and without.  Even from the very people we thought were on our side.

For many years advocates like me for family friendly workplaces have been praising the bottom-line benefits of creating workplaces where people could bring their whole selves to work.  We now know that any usage of telework, job sharing, or reduced work week policies are met with the ‘stink eye’ of resistance.  Despite the evidence that employees who have control over the time and timing of their work makes for more productive workplaces and financially stronger organizations, the status quo way of doing business, views employees who participate in flexible work arrangements as less dedicated, less ambitious and not team players.    As a result we see fewer women in the c’suites, and other executive positions in our organizations.  Lets not forget the men who are also negatively affected by workplace cultures that reduce the value of an employee to the number of hours at the office.  The ‘daggers in the back’ of the modern workplace.   (Don’t get me started on when work actually begins and when it ends — take a look here if you are curious.)

When I posted in a social media group that we, as leaders, might view the Occupy movement as an opportunity for creating more human centered democratic workplaces that embrace a shared a vision and purpose with everyone in the organization,  accountability, integrity (see Worldblu’s list of democratic principles),  the daggers flew as resistance to change became apparent.  Here are some of the responses — fraught with fear and frustration at the thought of a changing the business landscape:

1. If we continue to attack and impede, rather than reward risk takers and visionaries our society will grind to a halt. If we keep choking the golden goose we will have to live off what we have been and not what we can be. When we stand up for our rights, it becomes impossible to focus on delivering value. If we fail to deliver value, someone else will.

2. The closer you get to the source of the food and value chain, the more the luster fades of “wouldn’t it be nice if? I do believe wholeheartedly in responsible management, but we can’t take a Boston cookie-cutter to an Appalachian coal mine, or Kansas wheat field and expect the same results.

3. Milton Friedman who once said “the social responsiblity of a corporation is to make a profit.” Profits create growth, growth creates profits, profits and growth create jobs but more importantly they create opportunity and hope for people…that 99%

4. Earth to Patti this war, as in business is war, survival of the fittest. My competitors are trying to take mine and I’m trying to take theirs. We’re not in kindergarten where everyone plays fair in the sand box. Human beings are not wired that way.

5. Patti’s on the right side of socialists every where. So you’re right if we become a socialist country she, you and the occupiers will be on that so called right side.

Some of these points are very valid ….even the ‘earth to Patti’ comment but more importantly I thought it interesting the use of the war metaphor and the unhealthy view of competition. This is why our workplaces are not family friendly and that is why our efforts as advocates to create more inclusive workplace cultures have stalled. Change is hard but change we must.

So, since my DNA compels me to opt-out of the status quo, in more ways than one, and opt-in to something else that is more creative, loving, and democratic, I embrace the daggers as part of the landscape.  Best keep my shields up!

This article first appeared on My Open Workplace

Patty Tanji works with local and state government agencies and the State Legislature to ensure the
elimination of gender-based disparities in public employment in Minnesota. Her work allows for pay
equity in the workplace, which positively impacts the lives of Minnesota women who work in the public
sector. Her work directly impacts the economic power of these families.

She will receive the Woman of Distinction award on December 1st from Century College and the Century College Women
and Gender Studies Department for her professional accomplishments and for her work in improving the lives and increasing opportunities for women and girls.

Follow Patty on twitter

Posted in Gender Discrimination, Pay Equity, Successful Workplaces, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »