Fast Company article, December 1999 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

While the balance of power has already begun

to shift, most male CEOs still dont fully get it.

By Tony Schwartz

Fast Company, December 1999, p. 362-366

Summary and reflection submitted by Jill Katrin

December 28, 1999

This articles lead sentence, The cost of employing women in management is greater than the cost of employing men sparked my interest in reading this article. Tony Schwartz discusses an article from the Harvard Business Review called Management Women and the New Fact of Life in his article. He discusses how this article written ten years ago has impacted women in todays workforce.

The article revolved as a result of many career-oriented women quitting their jobs to raise their children. The companies were more upset about lost money spent to train these women for positions than in developing strategies to meet the needs of women who were trying to balance family and work. This article listed the following options to address the needs of working women: longer maternity leaves, part-time work, job sharing, and more flexible benefits.

Equal opportunity in the work force has increased the percentage of women working in todays jobs. Schwartz discusses how companies are losing productivity and profit by not finding ways to meet the needs of women with children. With this in mind, why wouldnt companies want to offer options to keep women in positions rather than lose them?

This article also discusses how very few top management positions are held by women. I dont see this changing in the corporate world until women are respected for who they are and what they are capable of accomplishing. If what you want is to focus on your career and compete for the top, then youre going to have to spend less time with your children - a trade-off that many men have been making for decades, and not always happily, states Schwartz. I partially agree with this statement, but I also feel that if individuals were offered options with these top management positions this statement would be greatly altered.

I strongly feel that a woman feels an inner responsibilty to be the primary caregiver of children. I also believe that the relationship a father has with his children is of great importance. I think it is great to see fathers putting their careers on hold to raise their children while mom works. Although I dont hear this happening very often. I think women are more inclined to put their careers on hold while they care for their families. Why? I think it is partially due to past experiences of their families; I also believe it is because of societal labeling of women, and mainly I believe that women feel that it is their inner responsibility to be the primary caregiver.

Today, most families have both mom and dad working to support their familiys needs. Because of this, the roles of moms and dads are changing. Dads are more willing to help with child rearing responsibilities like taking the children to the doctor, staying home from work when they are sick, shuffling children to daycare and after school activities, etc. I still feel that the role of family scheduling is maintained by the mother in the family. Moms know about everyones schedule. I dont see men being responsible for their familys schedule of activities. I guess that is why women are good at making lists and delegating home responsibilities in todays busy world.

I havent heard of many options being offered to women in todays workforce other than an extended child care leave or job sharing. Schwartz listed mentoring programs for women as pilot programs used by some companies. These mentoring programs for women seeking support for balancing families with work would be helpful and needed.

I havent heard of any teachers job sharing their position in our school district. I think this would be a wonderful option for women and men balancing family with work. The vast majority of of men and women want to combine career and family, and want to switch their main focus from time to time throughout their lives, states Felice Schwartz. I am optimistic that more options in the workforce for both men and women will be available in the new millennium.

-- Anonymous, December 28, 1999

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