In the newest segment of the Broad Experience, a show on women, workplace, and success, Ashley Milne-Tyte , a regular contributor to Femme-O-Nomics, leans in.
Lately, I fantasize about taking a holiday. Not a destination holiday – those are hardly relaxing now that my Android phone and iPad accompany me everywhere — but a digital one. I crave a break where I can go for a substantial amount of time, say an hour or two, without checking one of my many digital devices. It’s more complicated than it sounds since I’ve been sleeping with my iPad for over a year. Before that, my BlackBerry never left my side.
I started recognizing other habits that women, including me, use when communicating digitally such as multiple exclamation marks and closing off emails with overly touching language. There appears to be a need to go to great lengths to ensure that we come across softly, even in a professional setting. If “language is power,” as the British novelist Angela Carter once said, then what do these smiley faces say about us?
Like many others, we support each other professionally and take nearly equal care of the kids, but those competing demands can squeeze a relationship out. What’s left can feel like a strangely polyamorous relationship between a couple and their smartphones. It’s something to think about next time you sneak a peak at your BlackBerry during dinner. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg once famously said, “the most important career choice is who you marry.” That sentiment superficially glosses over the thousands of decisions a couple makes throughout their lives that impact not only their career but also their relationship.
A study of Swedish women breast cancer survivors has found that most of them return to work after receiving treatment. Three-fourths of the 505 women surveyed went back to the workforce 16 months after having been diagnosed with the Big C.
Women are dismally under-represented in corporate Asia, with only 6 percent of them seated on the boards and 8 percent on executive committees of 744 companies. Asia’s results are at rock bottom compared to the figures posted of women corporate leaders in Europe where 17 percent are in boards and 10 percent in executive committees, and in the United States where representation is at 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
The amount of time an entrepreneur puts into his/her business is directly correlated with the amount of reward as a result. The same goes for motherhood. However, running your own business allows for one of the most important words in the Mother’s Dictionary: flexibility. If I need to come into the office early because I know I have a baseball game to catch later, I will do that. The time is still there, just in a different slot.
The “do more with less” assumes that there is a significant quantity of “wasted” time yet to be wrung from the average worker. It assumes that you can agglomerate all those unused ergs and semi-ergs into chunks of usable time and effort. Extraction requires aggressive measures to reap that last little bit of productivity. In fact, it’s not unlike a violent mining process known as fracking.
I applaud the media focus on this changing dynamic of families and how that impacts the professional lives of women, we need to ensure that this transition appears in a positive light. To gain equal status at work, we desperately need it at home and that won’t happen unless we stop treating dads who raise children as a curiosity that requires our pity.