5 Things High-Powered Women Need to Know About Work-Life Balance

You can’t be a perfectionist

There’s a lot of stress for women to have the perfect job and the perfect life. But work, and life, aren’t perfect, and imagining they could be otherwise will only make you more stressed out. If you’re in a high-powered position, you’ve probably learned the importance of not cutting corners. But know when to prioritize, and know when a project isn’t worth the extra time that perfection takes. A finished report is frequently better than a perfect, late one–and no one’s ever complained about homemade brownies that were baked from a boxed mix.

 

Turn off your phone

Keep your work and home life separate by refusing to answer phone calls from the office during your off hours. If necessary, get two phones (or, two phone numbers). Give one number out only to friends and family; give the other out only to coworkers, clients, and other people who might need to contact you for business purposes. Sync your emails, calendars, and apps accordingly. As you move between the workplace and your home life, power down whichever phone is no longer relevant.

And if you’re having a good conversation, watching a cool movie, or enjoying a walk in nature, turn off all your devices and enjoy living in the moment.

 

Exercise

Working out regularly is essential to your mental health, and a great way for you to restore your focus after a busy day at the office.If you don’t like the gym, try hiking, biking, or swimming. Boss level: work exercise into your social life. Go for a run with friends, a long walk with your partner, or a bike ride with your family.

 

Restructure your life

Sometimes your life just doesn’t seem to be working out. You seem to be losing time that you can’t afford to waste, you find yourself tired and lacking the energy to keep moving forward, you feel unmotivated at work or crabby at home. In this case, you may need to look at the structure of your life, and try to find changes that could make it easier.

Is your early-morning makeup routine just an annoying hassle? Simplify your look, and cut down the time you spend working on it. Do you hate to cook? Delegate some of the work, choose simpler recipes, or use a crockpot. Do you find yourself constantly scrolling through social media? Limit your access to those sites, and log off when you leave, so that you won’t feel tempted to quick check later.

 

Make small changes

Sometimes you have to ease your way into big changes in your life. If you never eat dinner with your family, don’t expect to immediately have family dinners every night of the week. Instead, start with just one or two days weekly and commit to those. If you don’t work out, don’t force yourself to spend hours at the gym. Instead, pick just a few days, or come up with a short exercise routine that you can do daily from your home.

Recruiting Men to Help Promote Gender Equality in the C-Suite

There’s great debate in the worlds of social justice and progress about finding the line between “safe spaces” and “buy in.” For women in the workplace, especially those in corporate America, C-suites, and board rooms, women want the same importance and respect have, but the question remains: Do we fight against men for it, or recruit them to help us diversify our leadership?

For many, the argument is to recruit men to join the effort to bring diversity and gender equality to the realm of upper management. From a sheer numbers perspective, a movement to include more women in the upper ranks of a company is an all-hands-on-deck effort. Most men will probably agree that running an inclusive business means ensuring an inclusive team is in charge of the company, and few if any will admit to harboring some deep aversion to having women in leadership. What these men may not know, though is how to go about improving the number of women present at the table.

If the men of your company aren’t actively helping promote gender equality, then they’re hurting the effort by enforcing the status quo. To grow the number of women who make it to the C-suite, men have to take up an active role in forwarding the agenda of gender inclusivity and equality.

A common refrain among those who claim they want gender equality is that they don’t know where to start or what to do. Where does one go to find qualified, experienced women in the field? Coco Brown, the founder of a women’s empowerment networking group called The Athena Alliance, recommends for men to start with someone the trust and to network out from there. She writes, “If a CEO knows one amazing executive woman, he has access to at least six others. We all run in like peer groups.”

Additionally, as simple as it may sound, men can practice not talking when a woman is talking. Psychological implications of socialization and imposter syndromes aside, men often physically have louder and deeper voices than women do, meaning that, as they wish, they can drown out a woman’s input with ease. For many women who are trying to contribute to their place of work, literally having their voices heard is an important step.

Powerful Female Executives

Rising to the top is never an easy feat, especially for women in large corporations. This can be exemplified by the fact that there are only 21 female CEOs on the Fortune 500 list. In spite of their small numbers, these women are forces to be reckoned with. Take the opportunity to get to know four of the most powerful female executives:

1. Mary Barra

In 1980, Mary Barra joined the General Motors team as a co-op student. Over the past 37 years, Barra rose through the ranks of the company, becoming the VP of Global Manufacturing Engineering, VP of Global Human Resources, Executive VP of Global Product Development, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, and finally CEO in 2014. In addition, she was named the chairperson of GM in January 2016. Barra is also known for being a major investor in the ride-sharing company Lyft.

2. Indra K. Nooyi

With an extensive background in consulting and executive experience, Indra K. Nooyi began her career with Pepsi Co. in 1994 as their Senior VP of Strategic Planning. Nooyi quickly rose through the ranks, accepting the position of President and CFO in 2001. In October 2006, Nooyi was named the President and CEO of Pepsi Co., and the chairperson of the board just seven months later. Under her leadership, Pepsi Co. began the Performance with Purpose initiative, a promise to do what is right for the business by doing what is right for the people and the planet. Additionally, Pepsi Co. has gone on to acquire several healthier brands, including Quaker Oats and Gatorade.

3. Irene Rosenfeld

Upon completing her education at Cornell University, Irene Rosenfeld began her career in advertising, eventually moving into a consumer research role with General Foods. Soon after, she found herself advancing to leadership roles within the company. From 1981 to 2003, Rosenfeld served as President of North American Businesses at Kraft Foods North America. Rosenfeld then served as Chairperson and CEO of Frito-Lay and CEO of Kraft Foods. When Kraft split from its principal company, Mondelez International, in 2011, Rosenfeld remained with Mondelez and was named CEO.

4. Sheryl Sandberg

After receiving her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Sheryl Sandberg began her career as the Chief of Staff for the United States Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton, a position in which she served from 1995 to 2001. Leaving her government job behind, Sandberg set her sights on the Silicon Valley and becoming a part of the tech boom that was occurring at that time. Sandberg then served as VP of Global Online Sales & Operations at Google Inc., from 2001 to 2008. Upon leaving Google, Sandberg joined the Facebook team as their Chief Operating Officer and has remained in that role ever since.

The Challenges Women Face in the Workplace

Lately, women’s rights has been a popular issue of social importance. And with the recent happenings from this year’s “International Women’s Day,” I was inspired to write about the challenges women are often plagued with in the workplace. Below is just a small selection of the challenges I’ve seen.

Maternity Leave

Overall, paid maternity leave in the United States lags behind almost every other industrialized country in the world. America, and a small island nation called Papua New Guinea, are the only two industrialized countries in the world with no paid maternity leave at all.

Although legally, employers with fifty or more workers must allow new mothers twelve weeks of job-protected leave every year to care for a newborn. However, the problem is maternity leave isn’t paid and often leaves new mothers with less income at a time when they need it the most. That’s why most new mothers don’t utilize the full 12 weeks they are given

Women Need to Be “Attractive” to Succeed

Women in every industry and every level of leadership make 79 cents for every dollar men make. Not only do we make less than men, but we have to put out more money to make ourselves look attractive. Why? Because statistically, attractive people are better off in the workplace. It’s a human bias that’s known as the “what is beautiful is good” effect. Women who look beautiful are seen as more intelligent and competent. They also are more likely to get job interviews, more job offers, and higher income than their less attractive counterparts. So if we want to be seen as more attractive by societal standards, we have to wear makeup, style our hair, whiten our teeth, and attend to skin and nail care — all which require money.

Women Need to be Attractive, But Not Too Attractive

It’s a catch-22: women need to be attractive to succeed, but they can’t be too attractive or else they won’t be taken seriously. It can bring an increased discrimination in hiring and on the job, and can make women leaders less trustworthy and loyal. So although women “need” wear makeup and have their hair done, being too done-up can make women seem shallow or judged for only getting by based on their looks. If women aren’t done-up enough, they aren’t taken seriously and aren’t as successful as other, more attractive women.

Women, how do you feel about this? Please comment below.

The Women’s March on Washington

In one of the largest recorded protests in US history, a congregation gathered on the Washington Mall on January 21 to demonstrate their displeasure with the stances and promises of the recently sworn-in administration. Specifically regarding potential policies on abortion, health care, discrimination, civil rights, and legislation regarding Muslims, the nearly three million gathered in the nation’s capital made it clear that they wanted women’s issues addressed and not ignored or legislated over.

The march originally came under severe scrutiny when it became clear that the three women who were organizing the demonstration were all straight, white, and upper-middle class. Feminism itself has been criticized when it fails to incorporate issues for Women of color, LGBTQ+ women, women with disabilities, and women in poverty, as “white feminism,” or an ideology that only benefits straight, white, upper-middle class cis-gendered women. Its counterpart, “Intersectional Feminism,” is one that addresses the intersection of gender, race, income, sexuality, education, and other elements that contribute to a person’s identity and is generally considered a more inclusive, compassionate, and socially just.

To the end that the march did not want a reputation of supporting only “white feminism,” the three leaders stepped down and handed the torch to a black woman, a woman of latin american descent, and a Muslim woman who chooses to wear a hijab. These three young organizers worked hard to create and publicize a demonstration that drew attention to a smorgasbord of issues that afflict women of a wide slew of cultures. And publicize it did.

Crowd engineers estimate that the turnout at the Women’s March was about triple the turnout Donald Trump’s Inauguration, and that does not include the other movements that took place in cities as big as LA and as small as Lancaster, PA. Despite the size, the police didn’t make a single arrest, and there were no reports of property damage. Far from a riot, this demonstration was designed to celebrate American womanhood and make clear that Americans would fight to defend the progress made in women’s healthcare and public safety from assault.

The day of the event, hundreds and hundreds poured into the city, many clad in pink “pussy hats” whose proceeds benefited Planned Parenthood. People of all genders thronged to the streets holding signs declaring that women won’t stand idly by and watch their rights and healthcare erode without some backlash. Marchers carried signs that read “Pussy Grabs Back” in reference to a leaked Trump interview in which he said he would “grab [women] by the pussy.” Celebrities ranging from Madonna to Zendaya to John Legend to Scarlett Johansson attended the event to deliver speeches, perform, or just mingle with other protesters.

Overall, the march was meant to serve as a starter’s block for a long relationship among citizens to stand up against legislation and behavior that will put women in danger or purposefully make life more difficult for them. The march was imperfect for a number of reasons, including the language focused on reproductive organs that may have alienated some trans people, but on the whole, the movement demonstrated the power of numbers and the refusal of the public to take the promises of the incoming administration lying down.

Tips for Success as a Woman

As a working woman in this world, there are a lot of uphill battles you must face on a day-to-day basis. Women still only make an average of 80 cents to each man’s dollar, and that number gets smaller and smaller for women who are also minorities; African American women make an average of 63 cents to a man’s dollar, and Latinas typically make only 54 cents per dollar. Alongside the perpetual gender wage gap, women also face difficulty advancing through businesses and climbing the corporate ladder; of the businesses on the Fortune 500 list, only 21 have females currently holding the role of CEO. Although it can be tough in the working world as a woman, there are things you can learn and teach yourself that can help you in your fight to the top. Without further ado, here are some tips that you, as a woman, can use to help you find success in work and in life.

  1. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
    • No one really likes to talk about money, but one of the worst things you can do to yourself as a professional is be afraid to fight for what you deserve. Forbes notes women’s general discomfort around and tendency to shy away from negotiating has not only lead to them being less successful in their attempts than men but also likely perpetuates the gender wage gap seen across most developed nations. Although it can be mildly terrifying to imagine yourself negotiating wages or promotions, you owe it to yourself and your professional career to not accept less than you are worth.
  2. Network hard and network often.
    • A big part of developing professionally is building a strong network of other professionals with whom you interact and discourse about your industry or business ideas, and to whom you can turn if and when the time comes for a change in employment. Instead of eating lunch alone at your desk, use every meal that you’re at the office as an opportunity to enhance and grow your own professional network.Women are even unintentionally selling themselves short on social media; women dominate every major social networking site – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and overwhelmingly Pinterest – but men still greatly outnumber women on LinkedIn, the professional networking site. Put yourself out there and grow your list of connections as you develop professionally.
  3. Learn to effectively delegate.
    • In their pursuit to “have it all,” some women lose focus of the fact that they don’t have to do it all by themselves. While there are certainly tasks that require your keen eye and expert touch, not every project is a top priority. Former President and CEO of Coca Cola Enterprises Bryan Dyson discusses responsibilities as rubber and glass balls; some balls when you drop them will bounce right back to you, but some balls when mishandled will fall and shatter. When it comes to delegation at the workplace, the glass balls are the things you keep for yourself, and the rubber balls are the ones you pass along to others.