Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Join MWL
Site Search
MWL Professional Parents Affinity Group
Tell a Friend About This EventTell a Friend
 

3/22/2018
When: Thursday, March 22, 2018
12:00 P.M.- 1:00 P.M.
Where: The MWL Offices
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 390B
Minneapolis, Minnesota  55402
United States

« Go to Upcoming Event List  

The MWL Professional Parents Affinity Group hosts monthly luncheons and events, which provide a relaxed environment for MWL's working parents to meet with one another, network, and share their experiences, challenges and successes, as it relates to their families and their professional careers. 

Based on member input, upcoming gatherings will feature both focused discussions led by a speaker, as well as more casual opportunities to meet and network with one another. The group typically meets the second Thursday of the month at the MWL office. *Please note the date change for our March meeting.

We will have a roundtable discussion on Melinda Gates’ LinkedIn post, “We’re sending our daughters into workplaces designed for dads.”  In this post, Melinda writes:

“The American workplace was set up based on the assumption that employees had partners who would stay home to do the unpaid work of caring for family and tending to the house. Of course, that wasn’t always true back then, and it definitely isn’t today.”

“Women, of course, continue to shoulder more of the work at home, meaning many can’t dedicate as much time and energy to their jobs, and some drop out of the workforce entirely. And minorities have less access to networks, mentorship, and resources to help them manage mounting responsibilities at work and at home.”

This post is copied below. It also has a brief narrated video you can watch here.



We’re sending our daughters into a workplace designed for our dads 
by: Melinda Gates



Life has changed a lot in half a century. It’s time our workplaces caught up.

In January 1949, Fortune magazine advertised a survey of its readership. The ad announced: 

“We have just completed a statistical portrait of men, like yourself, who are readers of Fortune.”

It was accompanied by three illustrations showing a businessman sitting at progressively nicer desks. The nameplate on the first reads “Office Manager.” The next one, “Vice President.” And finally, “President.” By the final panel, he has gained a cigar but lost his hair. In each illustration, a female assistant takes dictation by his side.

Today, of course, there’d be outrage if an ad like that ran—because the American workforce has changed a lot. It’s now 47 percent female, and those women are doing a lot more than taking notes.

In some ways, our workplaces have evolved with our workforce. Paging through the rest of the magazine, you see a lot of things that didn’t make it to the 21st century. Smoking in the office. A special posture chair advertised as “something special for the girls.” Asbestos. Yet when you really think about it, in many of the most important ways, our offices are still stuck in the past.

The American workplace was set up based on the assumption that employees had partners who would stay home to do the unpaid work of caring for family and tending to the house. Of course, that wasn’t always true back then, and it definitely isn’t today. Men and women alike have taken on more caregiving responsibilities—as partners in dual-earning households, or single parents, or family members supporting their relatives. Many find themselves straining to balance their jobs and their families, and life both at home and at work suffers as a result.

Yet few workplaces have invested in the kinds of policies that could help fix that—like more affordable childcare, or more flexible hours, or even just a place for moms to pump. Astoundingly, we remain a country where just 15 percent of Americans have access to employer-sponsored paid family leave.

In fact, most companies are asking employees to work more. The American workweek has soared from less than 40 hours to nearly 50 in the time since that issue of Fortune was published. Technology has made it harder to pull away from our jobs, and easier to wonder whether a night off or a long weekend is damaging our careers.

When companies assume that the work of caring for a family and maintaining a household is getting done by someone else, it hurts everyone—but it hurts women and minorities the most. Women, of course, continue to shoulder more of the work at home, meaning many can’t dedicate as much time and energy to their jobs, and some drop out of the workforce entirely. And minorities have less access to networks, mentorship, and resources to help them manage mounting responsibilities at work and at home.

When women and minorities aren’t able to dedicate themselves to advancing their careers, it holds our companies back. Research has proven that teams without diverse perspectives aren’t as innovative or creative. And organizations suffer, too, when employees—both male and female—have to dedicate so much energy to simply keeping their heads above water, instead of thinking of ways to create more value. That slows down economic growth and leads to less prosperity for all.

So how can we fix this?

Well, the good news is that the future of work is getting a lot of attention. Researchers, policymakers, and organizations are continuing to explore it, and we’re starting to get a clear picture of how we can make the workplace work better for more Americans.

To highlight just two examples, I’ve been excited to see research showing that diversity and mentorship programs can open more career pathways to more people, and help talented workers keep advancing. And that pro-family policies like paid family and medical leave can help employees, many in the prime of their careers, continue to thrive.

But while these are promising opportunities, we also know they’re far from the only ones. And many solutions won’t come from the top down. When it comes to the future of work, it’s clear that we all have a role to play—from better balancing caregiving responsibilities at home, to reimagining office culture from the ground up.

In the months ahead, I’m going to use this space to share the best of what I’m seeing—and to bring together innovative thinkers who are imagining what it would mean to build a 21st-century workplace that lives up to the promise of our 21st-century workforce.

It’s a conversation many decades in the making, and I hope you’ll join me for it.  

 

Minnesota Women Lawyers
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 390B
Minneapolis, MN 55402
612/338-3205
mwl@mwlawyers.org

Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal