As we ring in the new year, I hope you’ll join me in toasting 2013 for the conversations started around women and the way we work. To hopefully keep the conversation going, here’s a recap of some of our favorite articles from the year. Now, the hard work continues — making sure that all of this talk isn’t just talk, and that the action tools are in place to help women and families do their best work, flexibly.
Let’s start with Sheryl
The year began with the anticipation of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In.” And while the book didn’t actually publish until March 11, the discussion was already in full swing by the time it hit the shelves. A New York Times story by Jodi Kantor, “A Titan’s How-To on Breaking the Glass Ceiling,” clocked in almost 700 comments, some cheering, others dismissing her mission — a petri dish of all the thoughts and emotions and discussions sparked by this book for much of the year — the year of Sheryl?
Around the same time, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO set off a firestorm of discussion for banning telecommuting as part of her turnaround efforts. Others said don’t worry, this isn’t part of a larger trend. Later in the year she extended Yahoo’s paid maternity and paternity leave to 8 weeks. Hooray!
The Queen Bee
A Saturday Essay in The Wall Street Journal struck a nerve that I’ve heard discussed and repeated in several public settings this year, “The Tyranny of the Queen Bee,” which looked at how some women historically have protected their positions of power at work by failing to help other women up the ladder. Fortunately, Pamela Ryckman’s book Stiletto Network encouraged us that times are changing.
The flexibility stigma
A NYT article looked at how flexibility work set-ups are viewed differently depending on if you’re male or female: “Mothers are seen as less competent and less committed to their work, she said, citing other studies. But more surprising is that men who seek work flexibility may be penalized more severely than women, because they’re viewed as more feminine, deviating from their traditional role of fully committed breadwinners.”
Pew Research data showed that 40% of houses with children under the age of 18 had moms who were the sole or primary income earner. Separate data showed us that women are starting businesses at a rapid clip. Love this trend, as we talked about in this article about “Momtrepreneurs.”
Driving with the windows down
We really appreciated this article, “Coveting Not a Corner Office, but Time at Home,” which told the story of how one working mom negotiated with her employer to be able to work from home on Fridays, enabling her to “throw a load of laundry in the washer on a quick break, and didn’t have to endure the long commute or get dressed up for work.” She added, “I like that my kids get to see me on Fridays as not so serious, that I can be more of a laid-back, ‘fun mom’ that day,” she said. (Her qualifications as a “fun mom” are the topic of frequent debate among her children.) “It’s the day we drive with the windows down,” she said.” Love it.
Other reads we recommend!
Any that we missed?