Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Is the focus on women hurting women?

I have been struggling with this concept for a few weeks. So I thought I would throw it out to the masses and see how others respond.

First let me say I am a strong feminist. I believe women can do anything men can do in the workplace. We can be great leaders in any field and add a wonderful perspective to an organization. But with that said, I wonder if we are slowly building back up all the walls and ceilings our sisters have knocked down.

There is a LOT of talk around the continued struggle women in leadership roles have with work/life balance. Can we have it all? Can we have a successful home life (whatever that looks like to the individual) and be in leadership roles at work?

But I don't think it is just a woman's issue anymore. It's a general society issue. I have coached plenty of men who have struggled with work/life balance. Men who have chosen jobs or companies because they offer more flexibility. Just as women are no longer in the "Mad Men" workplace, neither are men. Whether it is their own desire to be an active and present parent or because their spouse has just as equally a demanding job and they are splitting home responsibilities 50/50. And of course, more and more same sex couples are raising children which also adds a new dimension of the historical care giver gender. Men are also trying to "have it all" and by only saying it is a women's issue, I believe, is minimizing both sexes and their desires to feel successful at both home and work.

So by focusing on the issue of "can we have it all" around women, are we actually setting ourselves back a few years? Are we hurting our advancement in the workplace by making this a women's issue? Are we also sending the men back a few years in their evolution by assuming they don't have the same struggle?

I truly don't know. I guess only the future will be able to tell us. It's just been nibbling away at my brain lately so I thought I would get it out there and see what people think!

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