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Women at Work

How To Combat Anti-Mom Bias

Our VIP Lunch & Learn With Katherine Goldstein

Katherine Goldstein is an award-winning journalist and expert on women and work. Inspired by her own experiences of becoming a mother, Katherine has spent the last couple of years studying issues of women and work as well as mothers in the workplace.

After her research as a 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, Katherine authored the article entitled "Where Are the Mothers?". She has also written the article "The Open Secret of Anti-Mom Bias at Work" for The New York Times. In addition, Katherine is currently developing a podcast about millennial working mothers.

On Friday, June 29th, Katherine sat down with a small group of PowerToFly VIPs and provided valuable information about ways we can combat the anti-mom bias and unite working caregivers everywhere. Would you like access to exclusive chats with women like Katherine? If yes, then click here to become a PowerToFly VIP and join our community of women here to empower one another.


Q: How do you combat criticism in the workplace for being a "young mother"?

Katherine Goldstein: In a perfect and just world, this really would have no impact on how anyone viewed you at work. Being a "young mother" isn't relevant to your competency. Instead of engaging with those trying to put you down, try to focus on your accomplishments and what you're really good at. If it's in a performance review type of setting, try to steer people away from talking about your personal life and really focus on what you contribute to the organization.

Q: How does a mom break ceilings in the workplace when they have impeding familial obligations?

KG: First, there's this academic term that I use in my anti-mom bias article that isn't widely known, but I think is really important-it's called the "maternal wall". I think it should be as well known as the phrase "glass ceiling". "Maternal wall" basically means that once a woman becomes a mother, she hits a wall in terms of her promotions and earnings and is not able to advance due to perceived biases and lack of opportunities.

I think that a lot of times people assume mothers don't want to travel for work or don't want promotions because they'd rather be home with their kids. What's really important is to keep raising your hand for those things if they are important to you. Don't assume that someone knows that you want a promotion, be clear that you are interested in challenging yourself in moving forward. Many people are going through challenges in their lives, but I absolutely feel that if you want something done well, then give it to a busy working mother. They are some of the most impressively multi-tasking, creative thinking, efficient people. Don't count yourself out as someone who can't do something if it's something that you're really passionate about and want to try to reach for - "Happy moms make for happy families".

Q: How can I fight the anti-mom bias when what's happening is not technically "illegal"?

KG: It's really hard to think of examples of anti-mom biased behavior that's not illegal. For example, not giving someone a promotion because you think they're too busy with their kids, which happens all the time, is illegal. Hiring someone who doesn't have kids because you say that the person who had kids would maybe be too distracted—that's illegal. The biggest issue I can think of that's not "illegal" is centralized around scheduling. Many employer may schedule important happy hours and networking events late in the evening with a lot of drinking - that just doesn't always work for moms or pregnant women. To combat this, we have to be proactive and say things like, "It's great that you suggested that happy hour—how about the next time we do it as a lunch during the day so everyone can participate?"

Q: What's the best way to combat the perception of working less on a WFH day if you're home with a sick kid?

KG: This is a tough one. Everyone has unexpected things that come up, even people who don't have kids - someone has to take their dog to the vet, someone has to take care of an aging parent, someone has a housing emergency. These things happen to people, and if you're in a position of leadership, make sure you're creating a culture of transparency for everyone, not just those without children. With that being said, if you're one of those people consistently thinking you're not doing enough or being perceived as such, it's possible this can just be internalized guilt. In letting go of that, you can try to focus more on highlighting what you're doing well and the efficiencies that you have in other aspects of your work.

Q: What are the main things that you think that we can do right now as employees of organizations to change/stop this bias?

KG: So what's really interesting is that I think people who are first learning about the anti-mom bias might think this is a problem for childless men who are neanderthals—and that's absolutely not the case. This kind of bias can come from women (as mentioned in Katharine Zaleski's really eloquent article from a couple of years ago), it can come from dads, and it can come from other mothers. I've definitely heard stories from people who've had a boss, also a mother, who mentioned things like "well, it was really hard for me, so I'm not cutting you any breaks".

The best ways to start to interrupt this, is to physically interrupt it. When you hear people saying things like, "Oh, she's pregnant. I'm not sure we should go ahead with the promotion.", it's perfectly ok (and moral!) to say that you do not agree with that, and it's illegal. As women, we need to continue sharing our stories, raising awareness, and understanding that this is a problem. It's not about needing to be nice to working moms, it's about women's ability to be economic providers and to earn money throughout their whole lives. There's a lot at stake, so speaking up about your own experiences and not turning a blind eye when you're faced with an act of discrimination, is a really important first step.


Talent

PowerToFly Holiday Gift Guide: Our Must-Have Work-From-Home Items

What To Buy For Your Favorite Remote Worker (Or Yourself!)

My friends were pretty jealous when I told them I'd found a remote job. They pictured me choosing my hours, working from the comfort of my bed, and rocking pajamas 24/7. All great things... in moderation.

Just a little over a month into my role at PowerToFly, I've already experienced many of the pros and cons of working from home. I know I'm not alone in this - the remote workforce is only growing (9 million people in the U.S. alone worked from home at least half of the time in 2017).

The beauty of remote work is that it lets you decide what kind of environment you'll be most productive in… but the downside is that if you don't build that environment for yourself, you might find you've got a lot of back pain (turns out, working from bed isn't so comfortable after all) and not much energy.

So in the spirit of the holidays, I asked my more experienced remote coworkers to share their must-have work-from-home items - the little things that keep them sane and smiling during their daily grind.

Whether you already work from home, are looking to do so in the future, or are shopping for someone who does (cough cough, Mom), this holiday gift guide is for you.


1. Blue light glasses to protect your eyes from long hours looking at the computer (and to keep you looking sharp at the same time).


Get them from Amazon for $21.99

Our Senior Marketing & Community Manager Lauren says: "I've never worn glasses EVER, but when I started working remotely my eyes got so tired. I've seen a huge difference after I started wearing blue light glasses, and no headaches!"


2. A bullet journal to help you stay on top of your goals. So you know you're being productive even when your boss can't literally pat you on the back.

Get it on Amazon for $9.06

Our Customer Success Associate Brinley says: "I use it for everything – hand-drawn calendar, to-do lists, and even personal stuff like budget planning and weekly goals."


3. A laptop tray so you can be productive from wherever you're most comfortable. (You haven't really worked from home until you've worked from your bed.)


Get it from Barnes & Noble for $39.95

Our Recruiting Manager Amy says: "I love my laptop tray!!! you can fit your planner, your laptop and most importantly, your coffee."


4. A productivity planner to help you become more intrinsically motivated. (Ideal for those lacking the artistic talents required for bullet journaling.)

Get it on Intelligent Change for $24.95

Our President and Cofounder Katharine says: "It helps me manage and protect my time so that when I have creative work that requires a lot of focus, I can break it down into short, intense chunks and be more efficient."


5. A stylish stone diffuser that brings your favorite scent to wherever you're working.

Get it from Vitruvi for $119

Our Senior Account Executive Anastasia says: "Right now I'm working in a room that smells like a forest after a light rain." I've definitely never heard anyone say that about their cubicle.


6. A gym/workout class membership to keep you active (and sane) during the week - because exercise makes you happy and being happy makes you more productive! And a little bit of human interaction doesn't hurt, either.

Our Mid-Market Account Executive Deveshe says: "It's important for me to get out, shake a leg and jump around. Otherwise I wouldn't step out through the week."


7. A Peloton stationary bike so you can get in a great workout even when it's too cold to leave the house. (And once you invest this much money, you know damn well you'll actually use it, or lose ten pounds from gnawing guilt alone. Win-win.)

Get it from Peloton for $2,245

Our Operations Manager Gina says: "It allows me to stay fit no matter how busy I am…I can exercise during my lunch hour or in between meetings if need be."


8. A backpack with a dedicated fleece-lined laptop compartment to keep all of your equipment protected and organized, whether you're traveling across the world or walking across the street to your favorite cafe.

Get this one from North Face for $73.99

Our Director of Customer Success Cristina says: "Love it for packing my laptop and tech items as it has tons of pockets Including fleece lined ones for tech."


9. Bluetooth headphones with immersive sound so you'll never miss a word your boss says.

Get these Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone on Amazon for $159

Our Director of Business Development Amanda says: "I can get up and move around the house while I'm on calls."


10. A battery case for your phone so you can work wherever you want, without running out of juice.

Get it on Amazon for $108.99

Our Production Lead Rob says: "When traveling, I have to have my iPhone charging case."


11. A speaker to listen to your favorite music/podcasts when the sound of silence is just too much.

Get the Sonos Play:1 from Google Express for 149.99

Our Production Lead Rob says: "Working from home can get lonely sometimes so I love to play WNYC or podcasts when I feel like I need some company. I'm also a big vinyl collector and I have a turntable that can play wirelessly to a Sonos so even though my record player is in my living room, I can listen to it in my office."


12. An adjustable laptop stand that your wrists and your wallet (it's definitely cheaper than carpel tunnel surgery in the U.S.) will thank you for. Plus, this one doubles as a standing desk.

Get it on Amazon for $59.99

Our Customer Success Manager Lola says: "I'm using a box right now, but you definitely need something to elevate your computer."


13. A mate gourd and yerba mate, a.k.a the perfect workmates. Get the jolt you need without the jitters and gain your South American friends' approval at the same time.

Get the gourd and bombilla (straw) on Amazon for $23.99 And the Yerba for $13.95 (or make a trip to Argentina and buy it for $2)

Our DevOps Lead Emiliano says: "Very Argentinean, but definitely something that cannot be missing from my desk."


14. A foot massager to reward yourself for a job well done. Who says your home office can't double as a home spa? Work hard, relax hard.

Buy it on Amazon for $59.98

Our Product Designer Jedidah says: "Sitting in one spot can get strenuous on muscles in my leg, but with my foot massager I get to improve blood flow in that area, and enjoy a great foot massage which eases stress."


----

My coworker Anastasia said it best:

I love that working from home you get to take charge of your surroundings - I'm never cold like I am in offices (the male vs. female divide there ha). And I like me some good ambiance which is obviously subjective too so I appreciate being able to control it alllll myself.

So take charge of your surroundings and make 2019 your most productive - and comfortable - year yet!

#treatyourself

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Salary Negotiation Tips For Women: 10 Expert Tactics

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The hiring manager seized on my silence and asked me another question: "What's the minimum you'd accept?" Not knowing how to stall for more time, I blurted out my actual minimum. He flashed a toothy grin and said, "Done." I knew then and there that I'd gone way too low - his smile said it all.

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This is why we were thrilled to partner with such a like minded company in Pluralsight, who are making it easy to keep up with technology through expert-led courses, assessments, and tools in fields such as software development, IT ops, data, and cyber security, for an evening of networking and learning on November 28th.

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