Fast Company Article #1- December 1999 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Fast Company Article #1 - December 1999

-- Anonymous, December 29, 1999


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, pp. 362-366.

Management Women and the New Facts of Life was an essay written by Felice Schwartz ten years ago. Her essay, which ran in the Harvard Business Review, addressed why it cost more for most businesses to employ women in management positions rather than men. Schwartz indicated that a large number of women were either giving up their careers or putting them on the back burner after having children. In essence, all company investments made in recruiting and training women were being lost. The essay concluded by providing options for companies to keep women on the job by offering options like maternity leaves, job sharing, flexible benefits, and part-time work.

Reactions to Felice Schwartzs essay were very positive at first. Unfortunately, the New York Times ran a reactionary article which drastically misconstrued the message she was trying to get across. The Times article stated that in order for most women to achieve a flexible schedule which would accommodate the family they would willingly accept lower pay and little advancement. Felice Schwartz died seven years later feeling terribly misunderstood.

Three years after Felice Schwartz died, her son Tony Schwartz has attempted to interpret what his mother was really trying to get across to the public in her article. He contends that the main argument his mother used was that companies need to provide women with jobs that offer more flexibility between work and the family. In support of this argument Schwartz points out that raising children, so far, appears to be a far more important priority for women than for men. Thus, many womens careers suffer. Schwartz also indicated that it is a fact that women are making up more of the work force than ever before, therefore, it would be advantageous for companies to wisely make changes that are more sensitive to issues regarding home and work.

In reaction to the essay that Felice Schwartz wrote, I have to admit that I see some truth to her logic. For the last nine year Ive been a part of the teaching profession, which I feel has a substantial number of men and women teachers, administrators and staff. Over the years I have been aware of a number of women teachers who have either quit their teaching positions, or who have been fortunate enough to have been granted leaves so that they could stay home with their young children. The women who quit had to start over from the bottom of the seniority list, while the women who were granted leaves retained their seniority, but didnt gain any advancement on the pay scale. When I think about it, I dont believe I can recall one time when a male teacher took any kind of a child care leave. In fact, the only kind of leaves I have been aware that male teachers have taken, outside of medical leaves, have either been sabbaticals or other career advancement related leaves. I feel that while women teachers have the same opportunity, and potential, to further their careers through leaves and sabbaticals, most of them either achieve their advancements after their children are older or while stressfully teaching and raising their families.

I believe its true that there a number of companies who need to exercise more flexibility where women are concerned. I also feel that most school districts are equally fair to the women and men teachers as far job opportunities. If you want to advance your career you have to make the effort to put in the extra time. The important thing is that this has to be done in whatever way happens to work out best for all of us and only we can decide how far we want to go, how to go about it, and what we may need to sacrifice.

-- Anonymous, December 29, 1999

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