Business leaders continue to evaluate how Western women are already empowered – a notion that is concluded from a variety of statistics. Prominent women leaders are pursuing successful careers from all different walks of life, boldly redefining what it means to build a career path and professionally excel as a woman.
- According to the United States Department of Labor, women make up 46.8 percent of the total U.S. labor force.
- Women are expected to account for 51.2 percent of the increase in total labor force growth between 2008 and 2018.
- Women account for 51 percent of all workers in high-paying management, professional and similar occupations.
Even with all of the compiled statistics, women’s equality in the workplace has plenty of room for growth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic notes that in 2011, women’s earnings were 82 percent of men’s. In the same year, roughly 2.4 million women who were paid at an hourly rate had earnings at or below the federal minimum wage, representing six percent of all women paid at an hourly rate. Conversely, the American Time Use Survey was released last month, revealing the gender-based housework gap. According to this survey, 48 percent of women – the same as in 2011 – did housework such as cleaning or doing laundry, compared with 20 percent of men. Sixty-five percent of women did food preparation or cleanup compared with 39 percent of men.
The working mom
Mothers continue to represent the group of women that are particularly challenged in sustaining a successful, satisfying career. Finding their way as career-driven leaders and empowered mothers is a daunting task, regardless of age or where they stand on their path toward professional success. Several stay-at-home mothers struggle to re-enter the workforce, while current working moms are challenged to stay afloat, navigating two demanding jobs. Below are key points to consider for working mothers interested in starting or progressing in their careers.
Create boundaries for yourself
The best advice working moms can take to heart is to work smart and efficiently. While workplace culture and your boss’s confidence in your work may vary, it is crucial to establish clear boundaries and a work and life balance. Help people in your workspace recognize that you typically leave work at a reasonable hour, and that you do not spend your evenings checking emails or working on your smart phone. At the same time, as a working mom, you have to reassure your boss that you will still do a fantastic job. Go the extra mile at work and strive to create phenomenal ideas, but also set boundaries so your boss and co-workers understand your priorities.
Setting boundaries does not exclude flexibility – and if you sense any tension regarding your priorities, don’t wait to have necessary conversations.
Ask for what you need and want
If you are a strong performer who is diligent and constantly meeting deadlines, do not let fear get in the way from saying “no” periodically. Women in the workplace, especially mothers, need to ask for what they want. If you want to work from home one day a week, ask. If you set the bar high for yourself in the office, you should not stress over asking for something important, especially if it will help you boost productivity and creativity. The key to success for working moms in many ways is not to obsess over approval.
Create a career plan
This is especially important for mothers returning to work after staying at home with children. Use the job search opportunity to outline what “career” means for your specific circumstances. Careers do not necessarily require long hours for everyone, and career values vary from person to person. Define whether you are seeking an organization, independence, a particular work environment and so forth. Build a “career bucket list” to determine the impact you are looking for on decision-making and company strategy.
Consider a career coach
Working mothers need to tackle certain challenges methodically. Career-focused women who pursue quality coaching services often discover how to live out their unique purpose as a woman, mother and professional.
Safe Harbor Christian Counseling is dedicated to offering life, career and business coaching for women finding their way, helping them establish meaningful contribution and how to best utilize their gifts, skills, education and experience. For more information on Safe Harbor’s counseling, coaching and therapy services, visit http://www.safeharbor1.com. Interested individuals are welcome to join in on the faith-based dialogue found on our Facebook page and following Safe Harbor Christian Counseling on Twitter.