A few months ago, we started working with Stacy Kessler, a consultant who helps entrepreneurs find clarity in their business strategy. After a lot of whiteboarding, deep discussion and tweaking, we developed four elements to drive Gild Collective in its fifth year (!)—our vision, mission, purpose and core values.
Last month I wrote about the invisible workload that women carry and how I personally try to counteract it, which prompted a slew of messages from friends sharing their stories and perspectives. One of these friends, a great friend of mine from high school and new mom of a perfect baby boy, sent me a recommendation to check out a book she was reading: Jancee Dunn’s How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids. While I can confidently say that I have never hated my husband, my baby is only 18 months– there is still plenty of time for resentment to fester. In the spirit of research, I dove right in, and I’m glad that I did.
We know that women are underrepresented in leadership across the board in this country. In the 2018 Women in the Workplace study our suspicions were confirmed when we learned that across industries progress toward gender equity in leadership has stalled nationwide. The chart below shows that women make up only 22% of the “C-Suite” level positions in this country, with women of color drastically less represented than that at only 4%.
My simplest description of emotional labor is to call it “invisible work”: The work that goes into managing households and relationships to make them run smoothly. It was first introduced and has been studied for many years as a workplace issue in sociology as the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job. Of course the idea of managing feelings and expressions and fulfilling emotional requirements applies to the “jobs” we do at home as well, and the “invisible work” I described of managing households and relationships applies to the workplace. These two definitions complement and intertwine with one another and bleed into almost all aspects of life for many women. I can, of course, speak to emotional labor best from my personal worldview, which is that of a white, middle-class, heterosexual wife, mother, and business owner. Women of color, trans women, female immigrants, lesbian women, bisexual women, and impoverished women must navigate the complexities of marginalization (often several layers of it at once) along with their emotional labor. I cannot begin to understand the level of exhaustion that must bring.
In order to get specific about goal setting, we must look realistically at our plans and evaluate what we are willing to – or in some cases, excited to – give up in order to achieve our goals. We must firmly say “no” to many things in order to have maximum focus on what we want to say “yes” to.
There it is again, that word—feminist. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2012 TEDx talk, adapted to a published essay in 2014, she relays her early justifications of the term. “At one point, I was a happy African feminist who does not hate men and likes lip gloss and who wears high heels for herself and not for men,” she says. “That word is so heavy with baggage—negative baggage.”
There are a million different brands of feminists. There are a million different ways to express your beliefs, structure your family, pursue your career, or put your pants on as a feminist. And guess what? Each of us is still a feminist.
In October, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. I won’t lie to you and tell you that I was doing daily meditations on the mountain and having an Eat, Pray, Love experience. It was, however, one of the most fun, exciting, and challenging experiences of my life. While I did a lot of physical training, I think the most useful training came in the form of another fun, exciting, and challenging experience—starting Gild Collective.
According to a study published on PayScale, the legal industry has one of the highest wage gaps not influenced by education or experience, as high as 38.6 percent. While this gap is outrageous at first glance and may appear to never close, there are some noticeable caveats to that statistic. First, while there are more women working in legal professions than men (at 68 percent), men dominate the higher-paying and higher-ranking legal jobs. This statistic also includes legal support workers, paralegals, and secretaries, which slightly skew the statistics because these lower-status jobs are more likely to be filled by women.