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Staying In is as Important as Leaning In

by Beth on May 15th, 2018

As I have mentioned before, I believe Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In provides good advice for women who aspire to top leadership positions. However, in my research interviewing and surveying over 1,000 women, I found that most of them were not interested in the corner office. What they wanted was a job that fit their lives and let them use their talents to do meaningful work.

That’s why I was pleased to read an advanced copy of Kathryn Sollmann’s book, Ambition Redefined. She believes the most pressing issue for women today is finding flexible work. Too many women feel they must choose between a full-time corporate career that leaves no time for family or leaving the workforce all together. Sollmann explains that there are many alternatives to this all-or-nothing scenario. She shares practical advice for securing flexwork that accommodates caring for children and aging parents.

The most valuable message in Sollmann’s book is the importance of staying in the workforce for financial reasons. Women who continue to work, even in part-time positions with lower pay, make significant contributions to the long-term financial security of their families. A woman loses up to four times her salary each year she is out of the workforce, and women who leave to care for children stay out an average of 12 years. Continuing to generate an income, however small, provides insurance against unforeseen circumstances like divorce or a spouse’s job loss, disability, or death. Earning money is caring for your family.

Women should have the freedom to define their own versions of success. Ambition should be redefined to acknowledge that there are many different ways to pursue fulfilling work and earn a decent income. Flexible work options are paramount for allowing women to stay professionally active and financially secure, while also caring for their families.

From → Working women

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