Women can have it all if they fight for what they need. That was the message that came from a powerful woman who sparked a national debate last week about women and their success in the workplace and as mothers.
In a sea of blue and black, Sheryl Sandberg, a vivacious brunette in an orange jacket, stood out. Intense, engaged, gesturing for emphasis, Facebook’s chief operating officer and one of the most influential women in global business was intent on getting her message across.
“We know the childbearing years are a challenge for women, [for companies] to keep them, we know that,” Ms. Sandberg, 43, said.
International Women's Day was earlier this month, and I spent the week speaking to many different audiences, largely of women, from big corporations to a small community college. My impressions and take-aways over the course of the week provide a snapshot of the state of the movement toward genuine male-female equality in the U.S.
In 2009, the Consad Research Corporation conducted a comprehensive study on the gender wage gap for the Department of Labor, and produced a 95-page report titled “An Analysis of the Reasons for the Disparity in Wages Between Men and Women.” This is from the report’s foreword:
NEW DELHI – Preeti Singh worries each time her 20-year-old daughter has a late night at the hospital where she’s a medical student. If her daughter has to stay late, Singh tells her to wait for daylight to come home.
“I was brought up with the fear that once it’s dark you should be at home,” says Singh, a 43-year-old kindergarten teacher in Bangalore, India’s technology hub. “I can’t shake that fear.”
Across India, women tell similar stories. Now there is hope for change.
"You can (partly) blame me for the recession - but don't blame me for spending cuts."
In effect, that was Mervyn King's message today for the TUC. "Before the crisis", he said, "steady growth with low inflation and high employment was in our grasp. We let it slip - we, that is, in the financial sector and as policy-makers - not your members nor the many businesses and organisations around the country which employ them."