Category Archives: Women And Work Life Issues

Yes, Gender Bias Still Exists in Today’s Workplace

Gender bias

Photo: Pixabay

Is gender inequality really still an issue?

With the recent monumental women’s marches that took place around the world, some people have been questioning whether this action is even necessary. Does inequality for women still exist in the U.S. today? A very good question, as for many, it doesn’t appear to be an issue. You may not have experienced it yourself or know of anyone who has.

After all, we are much better off than decades ago when women were told that their place was at home in the kitchen (definitely not in the workplace), were legally fired for being pregnant, or were not able to apply for their own credit cards or attend college or graduate school. And certainly we are better off than many other countries (although the U.S. is still one of three countries out of 180 in the world and the only industrialized country that does not provide paid maternity leave).

I wish I could say yes, we have finally eradicated every ounce of gender bias, but unfortunately discrimination against women is still real. It is apparent in the working world as well as in healthcare and beyond. While I am not an expert in women’s rights and discrimination, I can speak from experience of working with women. I have seen the existence of gender bias from coaching thousands of women on their career paths, from those in rural areas to the big cities, from big jobs to entry-level jobs, from those with associate degrees to PhDs. Below are just a few examples of the gender biases that exist today.

Hiring and Gender Bias

Consider the hiring process, one in which we are not always aware if we didn’t get the job due to our gender or some other factor. A recent study – highlighted in a Harvard Business Review article – shows that gender still influences hiring decisions. In fact, the study set out to investigate class biases with the well-established resume audit method, but uncovered a gender bias as well.

“Even though all educational and work-related histories were the same, employers overwhelmingly favored the higher-class man. He had a callback rate more than four times of other applicants and received more invitations to interview than all other applicants in our study combined. But most strikingly, he did significantly better than the higher-class woman, whose resume was identical to his, other than the first name.”

You can read more about this study at How Subtle Class Cues Can Backfire on Your Resume. This gender effect has been found in similar studies focusing on mothers, resulting in employers being more likely to choose the male applicants, even when there are signs of him being a father.

Gender Discrimination Lawsuits

Another indicator of gender discrimination occurrences is through lawsuits. A recent article by The Atlantic reports that the number of job discrimination lawsuits has increased over the past several years, including groups of women suing for gender and caregiver discrimination. In these cases, some of the women were told by their supervisors, “Let’s face it. It’s a man’s world. The woman always stays home with the child.” The article states,

“The subtle—and sometimes overt—perception illustrated by these statements—that mothers are less devoted to their jobs than childless workers—has been dubbed “the Maternal Wall” or “the New Glass Ceiling.” This has led to a wave of claims of gender discrimination based on parental responsibilities, which now make up a growing number of lawsuits against American employers.”

Furthermore, take note of the recent wave of pregnancy (a 315% increase) and breastfeeding (an 800% increase) discrimination lawsuits over the past decade. You can visit The Revolt of Working Parents and Caregiver Discrimination Lawsuits Increased 269% in the Last Decade for more information on caregiver, pregnancy, and breastfeeding cases.

Gender Bias in Scientific Careers

Or contemplate an article from Public Radio International regarding gender bias in scientific careers that my scientist friend recently shared on Facebook.

“A series of high-profile sexual misconduct investigations have sent waves through the scientific academy this year. The cases have shed light on the sexual harassment and assault that many scientists say has long been a pervasive, poorly addressed issue in the field — and one that systematically affects women scientists. In a 2014 survey of field researchers, 26 percent of female respondents reported that they had been assaulted at field research sites, and another 71 percent reported experiencing harassment. But in 2016, sexual harassment isn’t the only major hurdle that female scientists still face: Systemic gender bias is keeping many women from advancing their scientific careers, and there are studies to prove it. In a Science Friday panel, scientists discussed how gender bias manifests in myriad ways over the course of a career — and what should be done to address it.”

You can read more about these issues at The Weight of Gender Bias in Women’s Scientific Careers.

So yes, unfortunately gender discrimination (as well as other biases such as the motherhood penalty, caregiving stigma, and flexibility stigma) is still with us today, even though we have made incredible advances in the last decades. As historian and professor Stephanie Coontz states in an article celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, “Women have come a long way, but still have far to go.” We need to continue moving forward and protecting the progress we have already made. One day I sincerely hope we can all agree that it isn’t necessary to march for women’s inequality (or anyone else’s for that matter). Until then, we will march on, let voices be heard, and take action.

Planning a Future Career Path: What Will Work Be Like for Our Gen Z Daughters? (Part II)

Future of work

My mom greatly influenced my thoughts about women and careers. Now I’m contemplating my daughter’s path.

This post is Part II of a three-part series, Planning a Future Career Path. I have a particular interest in exploring Generation Z girls’ future employment prospects, given that I am a career and work-life coach who assists students and adults of all ages with their career concerns, and I also have a 10 year-old daughter. Thus in this series I examine how we can best guide our Gen Z girls to successfully pursue careers and raise families in our rapidly changing and increasingly complicated work world. Read More →

Planning a Future Career Path: What Do We Tell Our Gen Z Daughters? (Part I)

future career path

Photo: Pixabay

How can we help Gen Z girls better prepare for the realities of combining work and family?

Lately I’ve been thinking about how we can help one of our youngest generation of girls, Gen Z (born approximately 1995 to 2010), better prepare for the realities of future careers and combining work and family. What should we tell them? Or should we say anything at all? Read More →

Heading Back to Work after Baby?  4 Reasons to Join Mindful Return and Get Help with the Transition

Mindful Return

Photo: Lori K. Mihalich-Levin

I’m really excited to share this guest post by Lori K. Mihalich-Levin, who writes about four areas that help prepare mothers for a mindful return to work after maternity leave. Each of these aspects is also covered in Lori’s Mindful Return E-Course. Be sure to check out this comprehensive and convenient four week class – the next one starts soon on April 4! 

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Russian Nesting Dolls and Having It All


Photo: Shutterstock

Last week FlexJobs and 1 Million for Work Flexibility sponsored two fantastic events: a screening of the documentary Having It All, directed by Vlada Knowlton, and a webinar discussion of the film with the following panelists: Kelly Wallace (Digital Correspondent and Editor-at-Large on Family/Career/Life for CNN), Jennifer Owens (Editorial Director of Working Mother Media and Founding Director of Working Mother Research Institute), Vlada Knowlton (Director of the film), and Sara Sutton Fell (Founder and CEO of FlexJobs and 1 Million for Work Flexibility).

Both the film and webinar were thought-provoking and touched on the “Can women have it all?” debate, revived in 2012 by Anne-Marie Slaughter’s essay in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” As a career and work-life coach who helps women with these issues, I couldn’t wait to write about the important themes emanating from this documentary and panel. Read More →

A New Path for Millennials: The Work-Life Balance Career Plan

Work-life balance career plan

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse.

It is not a secret that Millennials highly value and are prioritizing work-life balance in their careers, perhaps more than any generation before them. The Boston College Center for Work & Family recently released a report, How Millennials Navigate Their Careers: Young Adult Views on Work, Life and Success, which further highlights this notion. Their study of 1,100 employed Millennials found that in terms of career success measures, work-life balance was rated as important or extremely important to nearly all respondents (94%), and was the “highest extremely important rating of all the top-rated measures”. In addition the majority of Millennials in the sample “clearly felt that their lives outside of work were much more important to their sense of identity than their careers”. Read More →

Being a Female Business Owner and Offering Flexible Work

Business ownerI’m really excited to share this guest post featuring a woman-owned business and director who supports her staff with an open mind and flexible work. Thank you to Lisa Heidle for conducting and writing this interview with Teresa Woodruff, the founder and director of the Art It Out Therapy Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Teresa shows that when flexible work is done in the right way with support, it can benefit everyone involved, including staff members, clients, and the business.

Art It Out Therapy Center in Atlanta, Georgia opened in 2009 with Teresa and one other therapist. Today, the Center has seven therapists, administrative staff and interns. Here Teresa shares her experiences as a female business owner and mother and her thoughts on leading an all-female staff, flex-time in the office and maintaining a work-life balance. Read More →

Men Take Note: What We Really Want for Mother’s Day

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Mother’s Day is a special time of the year: spring is finally in full bloom after a long winter, it is near my birthday (although turning a year older has lost its appeal in recent years), and it is a day to not only celebrate our wonderful moms but women in general. However, what I have found most on my mind this past week prior to Mother’s Day 2015 is the tragic loss of Sheryl Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg. His death no doubt has shocked the world, given his young age, the manner in which he died, and the fact that he left behind two young children and a powerhouse wife, Sheryl Sandberg, who has spoken often about his steadfast support of her career. What I didn’t realize prior to this week was Dave’s strong commitment to advocating for and encouraging women in general to reach their top potential. It is devastating to have lost such a staunch supporter for women; we definitely need more “male feminists” like him in our world today. So, men, this Mother’s Day, take a note from Dave and honor the moms, daughters, and other women in your life by giving them one of these unique and special gifts that will last a lifetime:

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Guest Post: What Is a Confident-Joyful Working Mom?

Welcome to the first Guest Post on Women, Work, and Life! I am really excited to introduce Liz McGrory, a Working Mom Coach, whom I met in a working moms blogging group. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Liz, and have been especially impressed by her positive energy, dedication, and spirit. It is no surprise that she somehow found time (along with working and taking care of three children) to write her first book, “Igniting Mommy Energy”. In this post, Liz shares with us how she found her own motherhood energy and reignited it to become a confident-joyful working mom. Thanks so much for posting, Liz!  

Confident-Joyful Working Mom and Mommy Energy This is not another “type” that Working Moms “should” aspire to. Absolutely not. Byron Katie said it best in her book, “Loving What Is”: “In reality, there is no such thing as a “should” or a “shouldn’t”. These are only thoughts that we impose onto reality.”

What I’m about to describe here is small part of my life journey. I couldn’t quite describe it without thinking of the “mommy wars” out there, so I labeled them as phases. Read More →

Life and Work: What Was It Really Like for Women in the 1970s?

Women and work in the 1970s

Chicago Tribune Magazine (May 13, 1973)

Are you fascinated with the Mad Men era? Do you ever wonder what it was really like to be a woman at this juncture in American history?

Women and Work in the 1970s

The 1960s and ‘70s were a transformative time for women and work. Thanks to a host of new and amended laws (the 1963 Equal Pay Act, 1964 Civil Rights Act, 1972 Title IX of the Education Amendments, and 1979 Pregnancy Discrimination Act) and influential advocacy (e.g., the publication of Betty Friedan’s Feminist Mystique in 1963; development of the National Organization for Women in 1966; and launch of the first feminist periodical, Ms. Magazine, in 1971 by Gloria Steinem and others) the workplace doors began to creak open for women. In addition, women were now able to apply for higher paying jobs that once were available only to men, continue working when they became pregnant, and even attend professional schools. This resulted in a substantial increase in the percentage of women, particularly those with children, working outside of the home: from 27% in 1960 to 54% in 1980 to 70% in 2012 (according to the U.S. Department of Labor). Read More →