A Woman’s Nation

shriverI’m sure most of you have seen Maria Shriver over the past month on the news programs speaking about her recently released report regarding A Women’s Nation that Changes Everything.  I found that I was just catching a bit of her interviews – and was interested in learning more.  Ms. Shriver, along with the  Center for American Progress, have just released The Shriver Report – a report about the status of today’s woman.  A report of this depth and magnitude has not been conducted in nearly 50 years – when John F. Kennedy asked Eleanor Roosevelt to chair the first Commission on the Status of the American Woman.

The results are not surprising.  Half of all US workers are women, and women are the primary breadwinner or the co-breadwinner in nearly two-thirds of American families. Furthermore, four in five families with children at home do not comprise the traditional model of Dad being the breadwinner and Mom being the homemaker.  The study points out that the managing of daily life (work and personal) rather than being the traditional model of battle of the sexes – is transforming in to a negotiation between the sexes as it relates to work, family, household responsibility, childcare and elder-care.

The common concern, of course, is that kids may be left behind.  In families where both parents work, sometimes it’s a necessity, sometimes it’s a choice.  Regardless, today’s parents are spending a lot less time with their children.  The challenge becomes that our workplaces, the government, and our religious institutions haven’t quite figured out how to embrace this reality.  Flexible work schedules, comprehensive childcare policies, redesigned family and medical leave and equal pay – are still non-existent or in the infancy stages at most places.

Somehow I’ve managed to work three days a week since my oldest was born 15 years ago.  Now I work as a consultant – but I worked as a part time employee for two different companies for ten years.  This balancing act is not only something for parents to figure out, but also the workplace.  And while I wish corporations were more advanced in figuring out how to better manage flexibility – I also understand it is a huge challenge. By publishing this report, Maria Shriver is at least trying to promote this topic as part of a national agenda and force a serious conversation about this topic. Rather than continuing to dismiss, ignore, or table for a better time, hopefully corporate America will put some heavy lifters focused on this agenda to develop a solution that is both a win/win for employees as well as the corporation.

To read this report in its entirety or just excerpts, click on the link above.  If anyone has personal stories to share as it relates to this topic and the realities of balancing, please reach out to myself or Elaine.  Guest bloggers welcome!


  • Sharon Says:
    11-16-2009 17:38:11

    Thanks for posting the link to the report. I respect Maria Shriver and the work she does. If anyone can keep this topic front and center, she can.

  • Cindy H Says:
    11-16-2009 21:01:10

    I haven’t yet read Shriver’s report, but I’m glad that she raised the topic. I feel that there are still some ways in which women have been losing ground over the past 30 years, such as equal pay for equal work. But I think it’s progress that couples are negotiating how to handle challenges. Thanks for blogging about this.

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