A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

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Women’s News: How Women Are Best Positioned for the Economic Recovery

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Mary Buffett

Author, international speaker, entrepreneur, political and environmental activist

We now live in a time where women are better prepared for the coming economic recovery than men.

It all boils down to educational achievement. The Department of Education reported in 2012 that women earned 61.7% of Associate Degrees, 56.9% of all Bachelor’s Degrees, 59.6% of Masters Degrees and 52.1% of all doctorate level degrees. Only two generations earlier, women were not taken seriously in higher academia because college was seen as a pipeline to a husband and a family.

Since the early 1980s, women earned more degrees than men, but the higher paying positions were still skewed toward industries that favored men. However, The Great Recession decimated male-dominated jobs within manufacturing and construction. We find ourselves, as a society, at one of the greatest pivot points in our nation’s history. The jobs of the future — those high-paying jobs that on balance will drive families into the middle class and beyond — will favor women.

We’ve certainly come a long way, baby. In the 1970s and early 1980s, women knew that in order to build their careers, they had to prepare longer and harder to enter into these career spaces; it often meant longer time at school. Somewhere in the early 1980s, women began to outpace men in certain degrees. Within a few years time, women began to outpace their male counterparts in class space in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. Soon, these trends became established and women left men in the dust.

One should really call The Great Recession “The Great Mancession,” because jobs in male-dominated industries simply came to full-stop. Out of the 8.2 million jobs lost during The Great Recession, nearly 20% of them (1.89 million) came from construction industry. Durable Goods job losses (1.6 million) and Professional and Business Services (1.49 million) were a close second and third. “The fall in men’s employment is about 2.5 times that of women’s,” remarked Howard J. Wall, with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. However, while there were job losses across the board, education and healthcare rose by 500,000. By 2020, there will be 4.8 million additional high-paying jobs in healthcare.

It may take a generation for some of these male-dominated jobs to return to their pre-2007 levels. In the meantime, bills have got to be paid and somebody has got to put food on the table. As we pull out of this difficult time, women have found themselves better-positioned to take advantage of this new economy. The problem is that males within those fields may not have the transferrable skills and may be left behind.

It is hard to believe that only two generations earlier, what we see on AMC’s “Mad Men” reflected the realities of the time. Women worked in subservient and supportive roles. We could not get credit on our own and often had to have the signature of our husbands (or another male) to purchase property or sign loan documents. We saw big improvements in everything from equal access to no-fault divorce, all brought on by the Women’s Movement.

In the last couple of years, pieces like “The End of Men” by Hanna Rosin, her 2010 cover story in The Atlantic, have reignited the debate on gender, work-life balance and ‘having it all.’ Soon, the crux of Rosin’s article became a much-downloaded TED conversation and, later, a well-regarded book of the same name.

Rosin believes that the family structure was always matriarchal, but the power of women would stop at the front door. Men drove the “daddy decisions,” while women focused on the family. Now that more women outearn their spouses, shifts in gender roles and decision-making inevitably will follow the paycheck.

More importantly, as conventional wisdom is flipped on its head, changes in economic power transformed family decision-making. It’s no longer about what car will be purchased or what neighborhood will we call home. It will be about driving the big decisions. As more women move into the role of prime breadwinner within a two-parent household, women will drive more of the strategic family decisions like, “Who will follow who when it comes to the next job transfer?”

As we move into the next decade, it means our society will have a wholesale reevaluation how gender roles drive family, children and employment decisions in the workforce. If present trends continue, something truly glorious will emerge — female executives and senior management will no longer be seen as unique and rare. Best of all, equal pay for equal work will not only be the law of the land, but an immutable fact of life.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-buffett/how-women-are-best-positioned-for-the-economic-recovery_b_3498710.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

Woman’s News: Are Women More Engaged At Work Than Men?

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Margaret Wheeler Johnson

Women are still paid less than men by the same employer for the same work and are stillunderrepresented at the executive level across a multitude of fields. Yet guess who a recent Gallup report found are more dedicated employees? Women.

The “State of the American Workplace” report showed that 30 percent of American workers felt engaged in or committed to their jobs during the period studied, 2010 to 2012. Relatively speaking, that number is actually high — the highest recorded since Gallup started measuring the work force’s engagement levels in 2000. (Thirty percentage of Americans were into their work in 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2007, too.) It also means that 70 percent are either not engaged (52 percent) or actively disengaged (18 percent), which isn’t such great news.

As Nanette Fondas at The Atlantic points out, the report also showed that women were more likely than men to feel committed to their jobs. Thirty-three percent of women felt engaged in their work, compared to 28 percent of men.

Fondas, who has written a book advocating for flexible work schedules, argues that the reason women are more engaged has to do with the fact that women use flextime more than men. Flextime improves well-being, she writes, which makes employees more effective at their jobs and also makes them feel more connected to their employers. “The gender gap in employee engagement has little to do with biology or sex roles. It’s more a lesson in organizational dynamics that applies to both female and male workers. When employers offer working conditions that contribute to a person’s well-being as a human, a mutually beneficial cycle results,” she argues.

Is Fondas calling for more flextime for men? For more men to take the flextime available to them? She doesn’t specify. We know there are deterrents to men asking for and using flexible schedules. According to a recent New York Times article, “Men who seek work flexibility may be penalized more severely than women, because they’re viewed as more feminine.” And in a 2004 survey conducted by Catalyst, an organization that works to create opportunities for women in business, most male and female respondents said they thought flex work would hinder their career advancement. Thanks to a late-2012 PEW poll, we also know that fathers are still more concerned than mothers with having a high-paying job. Thus flextime may seem too financially unattractive for some men to stomach. But we also know that in 2004, a year of lower workplace engagement, according to Gallup, men were actually more likely than women to have the option of a flexible schedule, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found, and the Families and Work Institute reported that while more women than men opted for flextime in 2004, a majority of men used flextime when they had it.

A close look at the new Gallup report reveals that flextime actually isn’t the answer. Fondas is right that access to flexible schedules is related to employee well-being, but, according to the report, “workplace engagement levels eclipse the effect of policies such as hours expectations, flextime, and vacation time when it comes to employees’ wellbeing.” Essentially, engagement is a cause of well-being, not its result.

So why are women more engaged at work? That 2012 PEW data on the work-family juggle suggests an alternate explanation.

Whereas men’s preference for full-time work hasn’t changed much since the 2008 recession hit — PEW found that 75 percent of fathers said working full-time would be ideal in 2012, up only three percentage points from the 72 percent who said the same in 2007 — more women are motivated to work full time now than in years. The percentage of mothers who said they want full-time work — not defined as allowing flexible schedules or not — increased from 20 percent in 2007 to 32 percent in 2012. However, how interested women were in full-time work had a lot to do with their economic and marital status. Forty-seven percent of women struggling to survive financially said working full time would be ideal, which makes sense in light of the ways flextime has been shown to disadvantage employees in lower-paying jobs. Only 31 percent of women who said they “live comfortably” wanted to work full time. Forty-nine percent of unmarried mothers said they would ideally like to work full time, up from 26 percent of that population who said the same in 2007. Twenty-three percent of married mothers said working full-time is their ideal, virtually the same percent who said so in 2007.

The fact that more women are working full-time doesn’t necessarily mean they are engaged in that work — think of all of those actively unengaged workers of both genders that Gallup reported. But the uptick in single mothers working full-time suggests an intense commitment to being stable earners for their families. It stands to reason that some of those women highly engaged in their work are intensely committed not because their employers offer well-being-enhancing schedules but because they cannot afford to lose their jobs.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margaret-wheeler-johnson/women-more-engaged-at-work_b_3492054.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

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