What I’m reading right now:
Hot off the Press! Published November of 2018:
On Women and Leadership a compilation of articles by the Harvard Business Review, $34.95, 217 pages, (click here to order)
Description from HBR website:
What will it take to create a more gender-balanced workplace? If you read nothing else on leadership and gender at work, read these 10 articles by experts in the field. We’ve combed through hundreds of articles in the Harvard Business Review archive and selected the most important ones to help you understand where gender equality is today–and how far we still have to go. This book will inspire you to: Better understand the path women must take to leadership; Learn the root causes of the barriers that exist for women in the workplace; Check your own gender biases and distinguish between confidence and competence in your colleagues; Manage a more effective gender-diversity program; Recognize the issues women face when speaking up about bias or harassment; Help women reenter the workforce after taking time off–and create opportunities for them to reach their ambitions.
Opting Out? Why women really quit careers and head home by Pamela Stone, University of California Press, $26.95, 287 pages. (https://www.amazon.com/Opting-Out-Women-Really-Careers/dp/0520256573)
My brief summary:
This book is a collection of personal vignettes of “high-flying” women who were very successful in their respective fields before having children, and after children found it difficult to reconcile their goals for family with career ambitions. It admits early on that the women featured were largely wealthy white women who had the option to stop working and still lead comfortable lives. Still, the book (now 11 years old) hints at structural issues with employers/industries that played a role in women’s decisions to quit – although many women interviewed didn’t directly perceive it that way. Stone points to archaic workplace structures that are inflexible for working moms and effectively force women out (pg 18) vs. truly allowing for a fair choice between working at home vs. working outside the home. In the last chapter she includes specific suggestions for change in the workplace including:
- Flexibility (telecommuting, flextime, job-sharing, part-time, etc.) that is system-wide and customized and does not compromise career advancement opportunities.
- Assigning mentors to provide younger working women with role models and encouragement.
- “Off Ramp” programs (pg. 231) that allow women to resign to be at home but still receive professional development within the company for up to five years, with corporate guarantee to re-enter when ready.