Friday, March 6, 2015

happy international women's day...

happy international women's day!
i thought i'd take this opportunity to talk a little about what
when women thrive is.
the business / job side of it.

it starts with the data.
data that explicitely shows the state of
of women in the workforce.
a workforce and economy that has evolved significantly over the past 50+ years.
with more women than men are graduating college and entering the workforce.
with boards of directors and ceos are acknowledging 
that representation of women has direct impact on business results.
with a growing appreciation that women do work differently.
where different is increasingly valued.
but that even with this recognition and the correlation to better results,
women are still in majority underpaid, promoted less often,
and significantly under-represented across the workforce and in leadership ranks.

guess what else?
women have babies. 
women often times exit the workforce to care for these wee ones.
women who return to work make sacrifices, navigate complexities and make a whole bunch of arrangements and accommodations to account for wee ones.
caring for wee ones is incredibly important.

women live longer than men.
the aging female population is not prepared for retirement and other health/income needs.
women are not the majority earners, but are the majority consumers.
women make the majority of today's healthcare decisions.
women approach money and healthcare very differently.
this approach is very often grounded in the caring for others.

in a nutshell?
the world is changing.
women are making progress.
but today's employer-sponsored benefits, programs and policies
do not enough account for the unique needs of women.
it's complicated, unbalanced, harder than it should be.

so what is when women thrive?
it is not a simple, standardized, one-size-fits-all answer.
it's not just about women working.
and it's not just about getting women to the top.
thriving means more than that for women and organizations
in today's dynamic environment.

thriving means women are...
recruited, promoted, retained - in comparable proportions to men.
that they are strongly represented at all levels of the organization.
that after breaks in service there are more doors or pathways to re-entry.
that there are no perceived barriers to their ability to move through the organization
and progress to the highest levels, if they so choose.

thriving means women are
paid and rewarded fairly.
that their competencies are recognized
and their leadership embraced.

thriving means women can actually see a path to contribute at whatever level
and in whatever way they choose;
that they are evaluated based on outputs and business-relevant
capabilities and not on face time or life-phase.
that they are able to navigate these phases, not just to get to the top, or work full-time, but to feel engaged, able to advance if they so wish and able to live the life they want to live.

thriving means there is a sense of security in all areas of their lives.
they benefit from a financial peace of mind.
they are balanced, healthy and productive.
that they see equal opportunity.

so that's a little bit about what when women to thrive means at mercer, in business.
how this work seeks to help organizations build new solutions.
innovative and holistic solutions that truly account for the unique needs of women.
unique needs that call for new research, new strategies, new programs, new policies, new benefits.
that's the focus of my new job,  amazing team
and the organizations we are so very privileged to be partnering with.

but oh in my heart it goes beyond that.
that's it's not only about the workforce,
but a hope for progress, advancement and greater equality for women overall.
in the smallest of ways and maybe some big ways too.

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