As we celebrate Women’s History Month this March, many of us are thinking about all the question marks there are surrounding the future of women at work. Because so very much changed for us during the pandemic — for starters, women’s unemployment rose to nearly 15%, and we lost over $800 billion in wages. Then, just within the last year, a historic number of women left their jobs as part of the so-called “Great Resignation,” resulting in women’s lowest workforce participation rate since 1988.
We could dissect the reasons for all this all day — for starters, many women were forced out of the workforce due to losing a job or childcare responsibilities, but then on the flipside, countless others have left lucrative careers voluntarily, to find a job that offers a higher salary and greater flexibility. There’s so much happening right now that we wanted to take some time to discuss not just where we’ve been, but where we’re headed. What do women actually need, now, in 2022, to get back into the workforce and have fruitful and meaningful careers and lives?
To talk through all of this with us is Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code and the Marshall Plan for Moms. She’s spent more than a decade advocating for women’s and girls’ economic empowerment, working to close the gender gap in the tech sector, and, most recently, championing policies to support mothers impacted by the pandemic. She’s also the author of the international bestseller “Brave, Not Perfect,” and her new book, “Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work (and Why It’s Different Than You Think)” which just hit bookstore shelves this week.
Listen in as Jean and Reshma discuss the future of women and work — why is it different than we think? (Reshma has good news and bad news for us.) We also talk about Reshma’s projects, and why it’s long been her mission to get more women into STEM fields. We also discuss why she switched gears to tackle the broader topic of women and work. (Reshma says her new book is helping to “upend the narrative of corporate feminism.” She explains exactly what that narrative has been, and why it needs to change.)
In Reshma’s book, she doesn’t just advocate that we break the glass ceiling — she says we need to rebuild the foundation of work itself, because workplaces “weren’t built for women.” She helps us peel back the layers there and understand where we’re headed. She also weighs in on how the Great Resignation has impacted women, and why there are so many women leaving the workforce today.
We also talk about how to make changes at work if we’re unhappy but unsure how best to advance our needs — health researchers have suggested women work no more than thirty-four hours per week, yet 66% of American women surpass that, clocking in more than 40 hours at their jobs on a weekly basis. Reshma weighs in on how to approach overwork with our supervisors, and gain additional flexibility at work. She also discusses what to do when/if we find ourselves sidelined or burned out, on the top rung of the ladder, with nowhere to go.
And of course we discuss childcare — according to a study conducted in the spring of 2020 by the New York Times, 70% of working women say they handle the majority of childcare, and women are ten times more likely than men to take time off to stay home with their sick child and five times more likely to be the one taking a sick child to the doctor… How can we even think about climbing the ladder at the same pace as our male peers when these are the stats we have to work with? Reshma talks leveling the playing field, once and for all.
In Mailbag, we tackle annuities, and getting a will and trust. And in Thrive, the top financial scams of 2022, and how to avoid them.
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