Posts tagged with "Business Week"

Empowering women by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Women Face A Myriad Of Injustices; Can A Better World Emerge?

By Andi Simon, Ph.D.

 

What does it say about our culture when moms and their children are facing unbearable pain and trauma during the pandemic? This crisis has amplified the way women in the U.S. are undervalued, or not valued at all. While it is widely known that America lags far behind all other industrialized countries in paid maternity leave, appropriate childcare and suitable work/life balance for mothers, the challenges of the current public health crisis have brought to the fore front the severity of these issues. Why, we must ask, do mothers have to disproportionately bear the burden of household work and care for family members? To add to the unfair burden of labor, women still earn 18% less than men, often with little or no employer or spousal support.

 

How can this be? What are we missing in this story?

 

As a corporate anthropologist who worked from the time my daughters were three weeks old (having obtained no paid leave then either), I have gotten past the anger and frustration. Like many women, I have accepted this as just the way it is. But, does the workplace have to continue to operate with these unfair standards?

 

Before the pandemic, women made up more than half the work force at 58%. This was the highest percentage of woman in the workplace than what had been observed for a long time. Yet 40% of children are born to single mothers. At the same time as the role of men as fathers and co-caregivers has shifted, so had the role of single mothers in the workplace. Only 69.6% of men are employed full-time, and 6.3% are unemployed (5.9 million), as of February 2021. The academic dropout rate for men is 20% higher than for women: 6.2% of men don’t complete high school and 58% who start college don’t complete a four-year program (48% at private institutions).

 

During the pandemic, 10 million jobs have been lost. Over half these positions were held by women, often women of color. In December 2020 alone, 140,000 jobs were eliminated– all of which had been held by women.

 

Women, on the other hand, have generated most of the new jobs since the 2008 recession.

 

Before the pandemic, women owned and ran 40% of the businesses in the U.S. Many of these businesses were second incomes. Others were necessity businesses–from hair salons to “solopreneurs”–trying to thrive in a gig economy that, since 2019, has grown to encompass one third of the workforce.

 

To add one more injustice, our healthcare system is among the world’s worst for women.

 

US women have the highest maternal mortality rate among 11 developed countries. Women in the US also have one of the highest rates of c-sections. US women also face the greatest burden of illness, highest rates of skipping needed healthcare because of cost, most difficulty affording healthcare, and report the least satisfaction with their quality of care. One in three women in the US report having emotional distress. Clearly, we need to transform the US healthcare experience quickly into one that cares about womens health.

 

When will men, who have the power to change our society, recognize the pain they are creating for women?

 

When you add it all up, women seem like superheroes. They attempt to achieve work-life balance. They worry about childcare and parent care. They try to build careers and grow businesses, often with family and friends as the major source of funding. They strive to provide healthy, safe environments for their families, sometimes with little or no help. Is this as good as it gets for women?

 

I venture to guess that no, it can get better. It will get better. It must get better. How? By all of us–women and men­–fighting for a new, improved normal. By refusing to accept defeat, women can make a change.

 

About Andi Simon

Andi Simon, Ph.D, author of Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is an international leader in the emerging field of corporate anthropology and founder and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants. A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy, Simon has conducted over 400 workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners, and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts for entrepreneurs. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning, America and Bloomberg, and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.

Empowering women by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

How Women Can Rethink—And Smash The Myths Holding Them Back

COVID-19 has played havoc with many people’s careers, but it may have been especially detrimental to women.

Research shows that working mothers are dropping out of the workforce much faster than working fathers, at least in part because many schools switched to remote learning and at least one adult needed to be in the home with the children. One study by McKinsey & Company and Lean In also found that one-fourth of women they surveyed at 317 companies are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce entirely.

As a result, the disruptions 2020 brought could have a long-term impact on women’s careers as well as their family’s finances.

But all might not be lost. These difficult times could be an opportunity for women to rethink their personal journeys and decide who and what they want to be going forward, says Andi Simon, a corporate anthropologist, founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants, and author of the upcoming book Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business.

“I often say if you want to change, have a crisis or create one,” Simon says. “A crisis forces you to rethink what has always been in your life so you can create new opportunities for your future. As we navigate these uncertain times, women can use them to rethink their own stories and to smash any myths that are holding them back from becoming who they want to become.”

Simon suggests a few steps women can get started:

  • Tell a story about who you are today. Draw a picture or create a list to show what you love and don’t love; the joys and challenges of your life now; your interests; and your dreams. “Put that picture or list where you can see it for a while as a reminder of who you are now,” Simon says.
  • Visualize yourself in the future. Think about what will make you become who you believe you can be. “Know what would make you happy and realize how you might be personally fulfilled,” Simon says. “Understand how you can be professionally accomplished, build a happy family, and enjoy the support of your friends and community. Know what matters to you and how you want your story to develop.”
  • Keep a diary. Research shows that people who keep diaries achieve their goals and do so with extraordinary results, far better than those who don’t keep diaries, Simon says. “That might seem strange, but it is easy enough to try,” she says. “Whether you do it online or on paper, keep your story coming, write it, and re-reread it. Let it help you embrace your new focus and belief that ‘yes, you can.’ ”
  • Stop your brain from undermining you. Every time you say, “No, that won’t work,” convert it to a “Yes, that’s a great idea.” “You can manage negative thoughts by simply thinking that you can,” she says.
  • Build up your idea bank. Research also shows that  the more ideas you have, the more likely you will have “big” ones, Simon says. She recommends writing them down in an idea book. “Try to stay focused on the vision you have for yourself as you build your idea bank,” Simon says.

“Remember that you are writing a new story, so don’t let your brain delete great ideas because they don’t fit into your current story,” Simon says. “Keep saying to yourself, ‘Yes, that’s a great idea.’ Pretty soon, you will achieve the goals that you aspire to all through your life’s journey.”

About Andi Simon

Andi Simon, Ph.D., author of the upcoming book Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is a corporate anthropologist and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants. A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy®, Simon has conducted several hundred workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners, and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning, America and Bloomberg, and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.

What Keeps Men From Picking Up Their Household Mess

By Andi Simon, Ph.D.

For many of the women I have been working with during the pandemic crisis, the biggest complaint has been: “Why doesn’t my husband help pick up the mess?” “Don’t men even see the toys all around them, the dishes in the sink, the clothes needing folding?” And when they finally lend a hand, it is hardly neat or “the way I would have done it.”

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the cultural dilemma is upon us, exaggerated during the current stay-at-home, work remotely era caused by COVID-19. What wives, moms and girlfriends might have silently dealt with in the past has become a major issue when both partners are now at home together. Differences are more apparent, irritations closer to the surface.

As an anthropologist, and a wife, and a mother, I know all too well how difficult it is to change habits in adults. Once we learn our habits, they take over and drive us. My husband is a wonderful teammate but loves to leave his cabinets open, his clothes folded but not so smoothly, and his office … well let’s not discuss that. I do confess, at times my office is as big a mess as his, which is OK as long as each of us stick to our own disorderly worlds.

In a recent Atlantic article, “The Myth That Gets Men Out of Doing Chores,” Joe Pinsker writes about how these male-female differences originate partly from how boys and girls are raised, and partly from how men and women simply see things through different lenses. While some contend that boys are naturally messier than girls, there is little research to support that. If anything, boys and girls (and men and women) can both make a mess in the bedroom, the bathroom and the kitchen — indeed, making messes comes naturally to both sexes. Cleaning them up, less so.

The issue is that boys and girls are taught differently what it means to be “neat” or “messy.” There is nothing inherent in either of those words. We learn what they mean as we grow up, and the ones teaching us play a major role in handing down those cultural values about what we should or should not be doing to create order in our lives.

What matters is how we “believe” that we as humans create and manage our physical and social order, at home and outside of it. Watch boys at a sporting event — lacrosse, soccer or anything — and they learn quickly how to pack their sports bag and keep their equipment in good shape (or be yelled at by the coach). Girls do the same. In the office, men can be very neat, or not. I have had bosses with horrible office order and others who were so immaculate that it was weird. The same has been true of male or female bosses.

The question then becomes: Why do we think women should pick up the toys, fold the laundry and close the cabinets, while the guys watch their ballgame and drink their beer with a mess all around them? Humans are culture-creating and culture-living creatures. As children, we learn from parents, teachers and friends what is valued and for whom. If boys are allowed to have messy rooms because, well, they are just boys, they will quickly learn that boys can be messy, ignore the mess, and not be expected to restore order to it. If girls are told that they must clean up their rooms before they can do something they want, they learn other rules and other norms.

It really is true that what we see our mothers and fathers, and others, doing is what we mimic, in business and in life. It becomes embedded in our psyches, sometimes without our even realizing. If girls and women repeatedly hear that cleanliness is next to godliness, they will learn that making the bed, tidying the kitchen and cleaning up messes are positive reinforcements for how good and acceptable they are. Boys don’t learn this. In fact, if a boy neatly picks up his toys and then is called a sissy, what value judgement is that passing along?

So then, if you have a man in the house who repeatedly ignores the kids’ mess on the floor, think hard about what both of you are teaching your kids about personal responsibility, beyond neatness and messiness. You might during this at-home period be able to change their futures by providing them with unbiased values and beliefs about what men and women see and do. Remember, it is easier to change the kids than the guy. I would advise, though, that in your corrections to the latter, tread carefully but quickly, before the opportunity evaporates.

About Andi Simon

Andi Simon, Ph.D., author of the book Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is a corporate anthropologist and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants. A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy®, Simon has conducted several hundred workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners, and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning, America and Bloomberg, and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.