BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Gen X & Gen Y’

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

Posted in Equal Pay, Gen X, Gen Y, HERvotes, Pay Equity | 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 »

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 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 »

What My Father(s) Taught Me About Success

Posted by knbarrett on June 18, 2011

It was 1992 and I was at Kidsville, a playground in Duncanville, TX. I twirled around in the tire swing and watched parents catch their children at the foot of the slide, assist them across the monkey bars, and play chase around the park. The playground was full of mothers; fathers were in shorter supply. It was the fathers and daughters that caught my attention. There was something special about the interactions between father and daughter – the smiles and laughs were somehow different from that of a mother and daughter.  I distinctly remember feeling sorry for mothers; they would never share the same type of bond with their daughters. At nine, I sensed the importance of the father-daughter relationship.

Research supports my childhood observations. According to Nielsen’s research “Fathers generally have as much or more influence than mothers on many aspects of their daughters’ lives . . . well-fathered daughters are usually more self-confident, more self-reliant, and more successful in school and in their careers than poorly-fathered daughters.” Fathers help daughters develop a sense of place in this world.

Who I am and how I view the world has been profoundly shaped by my Papa and the men who have played father-like roles in my life (Great-Grandpa Kenyon, Gramps, Uncle John, Uncle Chris, Uncle Scott and Uncle Jeremy). They have influenced not only my professional pursuits but also how I perceive success in the workplace.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about the need for new definitions of career success because societal definitions of success impact workplace policies and practices. Through my father figures I’ve learned three important lessons for becoming a successful woman.

Lesson 1: Action not Accolades

My Nana once told me that Gramps sometimes refers to me as “The Empress of the Western Hemisphere.” Knowing that my Gramps, even in jest, pictures me as a ruler fills me with great delight. Within the confines of my family, I have never felt that my gender was a hindrance for leadership positions. While I often struggle with equating success with positions of authority, the men in my life have often encouraged me to see past a person’s title and look at their actions.

At six, my Uncle Jeremy and I had a serious talk about the presidency. I wanted to know two things: what I had to do to become the President of the United State and what earnings I could expect as President of the United States. My uncle patiently discussed the presidential office. He never discouraged me from seeking office, but I remember him encouraging me to think beyond the title and paycheck – what would I do as President?

There is this illusive draw to being at the top. It signals that we as women have arrived. In my mind it says “Take that” to every ignorant man who ever made a sexist joke about how I was destined for a life of domesticity. Yet, in my short career tenure, I’ve learned and re-learned through my father figures that I want my career to be measured by impacts (how my actions affected people and causes) instead of outputs (# of reports written) or outcomes (awards and titles of distinction). It’s about using whatever sphere of influence I have in whatever position I hold and harnessing it toward good.

Lesson 2: Sacrifice over Self-Indulgence

In a recent New York Times op-ed column, David Brooks wrote about how adulthood isn’t about finding one’s passion or charting one’s own path. He argues instead that “A successful adult makes sacred commitments to a spouse, a community and calling.” My father figures have showed me that a successful life is marked by sacrifice.

I’ve watched the men in my life make career sacrifices for their families. I’ve learned from them that men and women alike are responsible for the health and well-being of their families. There is this perception that only women make tough choices when it comes to balancing career, family and community responsibilities. But, I’m not sure that’s true. My own husband has passed up opportunities offering greater pay and prestige because he is committed to playing an active role in our daughter’s life. And, a recent study by Boston College Center for Work & Family on fathers and work “presents a portrait of fathers who strive for professional growth as they also strive for equality in their home life.”

Putting others before career ambition is not something that women alone face. Watching men make these sacrifices has made it a little easier for me to accept the trade-offs involved in having a career and family. Knowing that these men experience the tension and conflict of living a life that includes family, work and community responsibilities makes me feel less alone. It also makes me all the more passionate about my research on workplace policies and practices that fit the realities of today’s workforce.

Lesson 3: Daily Choices Matter Most

Papa asks my sisters and me one question whenever we talk: “Are you winning the day?” It is a question that we roll our eyes at and mock from time to time. But, it’s a useful question. It helps me refocus my time and energy. The question helps me take a deep breath when I feel anxious about not reaching my full potential or leaving accomplishments unchecked. As someone who likes to develop five year plans, it’s easy to get so distracted by the pursuit of success that I forget about the importance of “winning the day” – being a dedicated mother, dependable friend and diligent worker.

The question reminds me that my own life has been shaped by men who have included me in their days- challenging my thinking and exposing me to new ideas (thank you, Uncle Jeremy and Uncle Scott); bailing me out when my car broke down and I was out of money (thank you, Uncle John); taking a day to drive down and spend time with me (thank you, Uncle Chris); sharing life lessons and experiences (thank you, Gramps);  walking through the tough times (thank you, Papa); being my best friend (thank you, Peter).

Success is not so much an end destination but the byproduct of our daily choices and decisions. In the words of Mumford & Sons, “In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die/Where you invest your love, you invest your life.” Thank you Papa, Gramps, Uncles and Peter for the love you have invested in my life.

Posted in Career Advancement, Families, Feminism, Gen Y, Gen Yner, girls, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gen Y: Just another Label?

Posted by knbarrett on June 9, 2011

My youngest sister is a psychology major. During the course of her studies, I’ve learned a lot about the potential harms of labeling. I’ve learned to talk about people as having disabilities and not being disabled. A child with high functioning autism, for example, who is labeled “autistic”, often feels pigeonholed. Yes, they have an intellectual disability, but they are more than that disability.  It is just one part of them, it doesn’t define them. Our talks about the potential pitfalls of labels have caused me to think about the term “Gen Y” and the extent to which it is helpful or harmful.

BPW Foundation is currently conducting a national survey on Generation Y (born 1978-1994) women in the workplace. We’ve had a tremendous outpouring of interest in the survey, but it has not been met with the same level of response to the survey. I have a couple theories about the response rate brewing in my head.

Today’s theory is this. . . the term Gen Y is problematical. Using the term Gen Y, which does not have a universal meaning or understanding, may in fact be driving young women away from the survey.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve had lots of informal discussions with young women about the term Gen Y. Here are the three most common reactions:

Don’t call me that!

At a recent dinner, one of my friends asked me how the survey was going and told me that she was sorry she couldn’t help me by taking the survey. When I told her that, as a 30 year old woman, she fit the age requirement for Gen Y she exclaimed, “You’re telling me that I’m Gen Y. No way. I’m not whiney and entitled. I don’t care if I technically fit into the category. I don’t want to be Gen Y. Being labeled Gen Y is downright offensive.”

The media’s portrayal of Gen Y is often negative. It’s not hard to believe that women, like my friend, would want to disassociate themselves from stereotypes such as being a lazy, spoiled and entitled. The cards are often stacked against us – we’re young and we’re women- and now you want to load us down with something else. No, thank you.

Yes, yes. That’s me!

While some reject the term, others embrace their Gen Y-ness. Far from being slam, to these women Gen Y is a label they wear with pride. Bloggers like Elysa of GenPink, Amanda of Grad Meets World and Grace of Small Hands, Big Ideas reject the hysteria about Gen Y and provide nuance and insight into generational differences.

A recent Grad Meets World post – Gen Y Manifesto – best encapsulates this category of women. Amanda discusses the psychological and professional dilemmas associated with being part of the Y Generation – not only do people belittle Gen Y’s pursuit of meaningful work but Gen Y are also faced with tough economic times for finding meaningful work. She is unapologetic about the ways in which Gen Y is different from previous generations and vows to follow her dreams, live life to the fullest, and make a difference.

Say what?

My all time favorite reaction to Gen Y was, “Is that medical term?” It’s easy as a researcher to get so consumed in a particular body of literature that you forget the books and articles you read are not necessarily at the top of everyone’s reading list. It’s easy to assume that because a discussion about Gen Y exists that it is relevant and interesting to all individuals who fit the bill. I wonder, though, how many women born between the years 1978 and 1994:

1) Know that they belong to Gen Y

2) Self-identify as Gen Y and

3) Reflect on how their generational membership affects their workplace experiences and expectations.

Regardless of your perspective on the term, Gen Y, if you are a woman born between 1978 and 1994, BPW Foundation wants to better understand what you need in order to be successful in the workplace. The information we collect through the national survey will be translated into tools that improve the way employers recruit, support and retain young women in the workplace.

The survey will remain active until June 30th. Each participant who completes the survey will be entered to win a $75 Amazon gift card.

Feel free to forward the survey link to young women you know (born between 1978-1994):

http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22C8VZPBCW3

Posted in Career Advancement, Gen Y, Gen Yner, Research, Successful Workplaces, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Wanna Problem Swap?

Posted by knbarrett on May 27, 2011

Have you ever noticed that it’s far easier to solve other people’s problems than your own? I actually take great delight in putting together plans for friends and colleagues. But, when it comes to my own life. . . I’m a complete mess.

It turns out my experience is consistent with recent psychological research. Studies reveal that people can achieve greater mental novelty when thinking on behalf of others.

Polman and Emich found that, “When we think of situations or individuals that are distant – in space, time, or social connection – we think of them in the abstract. But when those things are close – near us physically, about to happen, or standing beside us – we think about them concretely.”

According to Daniel Pink, this has important implications for solving problems in the workplace. He suggests the following:

  1. Disassociate yourself: Rather than focusing more intensely on a decision or problem, we often need to take a step back so that we can widen our view. Abstract thinking leads to greater creativity.
  2. Harness the power of peers. Exchanging ideas with peers can offer solutions from new perspectives. According to Joel Marc, Generation Y (born 1978-1994) is especially adept at this strategy. He suggests that one of Gen Y’s strengths is reaching out to their networks to solve problems quickly.
  3. Find a problem-swapping partner. Personally, I’ve found this tip to be very beneficial. I have a friend and colleague that I regularly toss my problems to. And, she in return throws hers to me.

You may be wondering where I’m going with all of this. Besides the fact that I’m a huge fan of all things Daniel Pink, I’m trying to put these principles into practice.

Over the last few weeks, BPW Foundation has been promoting our national survey on Gen Y Women in the Workplace. The purpose of the survey is to understand what Gen Y 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’ve been astounded by the level of interest that the survey has received. Unfortunately, that interest level has not matched the response rate. Don’t get me wrong, Gen Y Women are definitely responding. We just haven’t met our target yet.

So, instead of fixating on my present research dilemma as I’m prone to do, I’m trying to create some distance. And, I’m writing to ask you, as peers from different backgrounds, fields and industries for your thoughts and suggestions on how we can better promote our survey. And, if anyone wants to be my problem-solving partner, I’d be happy to tackle one of your problems in exchange for this one.

Please email your comments and suggestions to youngcareerist@bpwfoundation.org.

To allow for time for peer and partner problem-solving, we’ve decided to extend the deadline for the survey. The Gen Y Women in the Workplace survey will remain active until June 30th at midnight EDT.

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

Gen Y Women: Do You Work for an Ageist?

Posted by knbarrett on May 19, 2011

“You’re the author of the report? I assumed that you were a 40 year-old woman, not a 20-something.” For months I had been communicating with the client online. For months I had been evaluated based on the quality of my work. It never occurred that me that my work might be questioned because of my age. Instead of finalizing the report, we spent that first face-to-face meeting discussing my relative youthfulness.

Working and interacting with clients online has, on many occasions, provided me with a Blind Audition (yes, I admit I watch The Voice). As a face-less researcher, clients are far less likely to project their ideas about the characteristics and capabilities of a 20-something woman on my work. Like the contestants on The Voice, I want to be judged  on my delivery not on whether or not I’m the “full package” like on American Idol (yes, I admit I watch that too).

What about you? How has your age shaped the way you are perceived at work? If you are a Gen Y woman (born 1978-1994), BPW Foundation wants to better understand your perspectives on intergenerational workplace dynamics.

  • To what extent is generational conflict a problem facing today’s workplace?
  • Have you ever experienced generational discrimination or conflict at work?
  • What can employers do to improve inter-generational workplace dynamics?

Please share your thoughts and experiences by taking our online survey. The survey will remain open until Tuesday, May 31st at midnight. Don’t miss the chance to let your voice be heard!

Posted in Career Advancement, Gen Y, multigenerational, Research | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Attention Gen Y Women! Survey Invitation

Posted by knbarrett on May 10, 2011

Gen Y Women – Let your voice be heard by taking our online survey. Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation is currently researching Generation Y women in the workplace.  While much has been written about how Gen Y is changing the workplace, far less has been written about Gen Y women’s unique workplace challenges and opportunities.

BPW Foundation wants to understand what you need to be successful in the workplace and then translate that knowledge into tools that improve how employers recruit, support and retain women like yourself. BPW Foundation recognizes that understanding and addressing your needs is critical for employers wanting to maintain a competitive edge.

BPW Foundation has a respected history of researching workforce issues and practices that lead to a successful workplace. Successful Workplaces are those that embrace and practice diversity, equity and work-life balance. Our research provides employers and policy makers with insights on the needs and challenges of key groups of working women with a variety of skills, education and training.

Feel freed to forward the survey to Gen Y women that you know – colleagues, friends and family members. For the purpose of this survey, BPW Foundation is defining Gen Y as individuals born between the years of 1978 and 1990.

The survey will remain open until Tuesday, May 31st at midnight EDT.  As they say do it now!

Posted in Gen Y, multigenerational, Research, Successful Workplaces, Uncategorized, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

How To Do It All… Now, Because Mom Did!

Posted by danielleac on May 8, 2011

After reading an excerpt from the new book,  ”Undecided: How to Ditch the Endless Quest for Perfect and Find the Career–and Life–That’s Right for You” by Barbara Kelley and Shannon Kelley, a mother-and-daughter writing team tackling generational issues, I feel compelled to offer a slightly different viewpoint.

Barbara and Shannon propose that Gen Y women are stuck in a bad place, a miserable place, one that gives them too many options, and not enough satisfaction. They believe that Gen Yers suffer from “analysis paralysis” and “grass is greener” syndrome, and conclude that much of the problem is due to “a lack of role models to pave the way.”

I’d have to disagree a bit. I’m a quintessential example of a Gen Yer – educated, married, 2 kids, and working in a job that offers both work-life balance and feeds my need to make a difference in the world…. and I’m also a woman veteran. I’m wearing many hats simultaneously – mom, wife, student, employee.

And, yes, I’ve felt the sting of not knowing which choice to make…or how to prioritize all of the great options I’ve been afforded due to the efforts of the women who’ve gone before me. One of the most important of these was my own mother, a pixie of a woman who left military service to be a mother and wife, homeschooling us for several years, until divorce struck. This didn’t slow her down, though – she went on to raise her four children singlehandedly while putting herself through nursing school to better our circumstances.

That being said, I suffer from a different problem – how to do it all. NOW.

My mom did it all, because she had to. Life didn’t offer her the luxury of picking and choosing – food had to go on the table, rent had to be paid, and kids had to be washed. I remember watching her struggle through hundreds of pages of reading, curse her way through physics and chemistry, and rail against the fact that her responsibilities left little time for repeat trips to the firehouse, dairy farm, and strawberry fields that used to fill her days as a stay-at-home mother.

So, now, I do it all, because if she could do it, I can do it. Her example shines before me as a beacon of fortitude, and the stress, struggle, and juggle of it all keeps me dashing through every open door, running swiftly down all available avenues , and continuously striving to live up to the expectations of today. It’s not analysis paralysis I suffer from, it’s the inability to say no when opportunity knocks. And, I don’t feel depressed or angsty at all… unless I think about how hard it must have been for my mom to do it all by herself.

It’s not always easy to follow in the footsteps of greatness. But, it is challenging, and I welcome the responsibility of continuing to break down the gender barriers as those who came before me did. We aren’t there yet, but thanks to my mother and many others like her, we’ll keep trying.

Happy Mother’s Day to Joni Olson and all of the other supermoms out there!

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