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Come on 2023: Make this a better year for women at work

Columnist Kristen Asleson says women are demanding more from their work lives, and giving much as well.

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As 2022 closes, it is time to reflect on what the year meant for women at work. According to Lean In, “women are demanding more from work, and they are leaving their companies in unprecedented number to get it. Companies are struggling to hold on to the few women leaders they have. Younger women are watching senior women leave for better opportunities, they are prepared to do the same.”

Of course, even in this day and age, it is the “broken rung” that still holds women back at the start. This first step up to management, which leads to more and is a huge obstacle for women. In fact, for every 100 men who get promoted, only 87 women are promoted, and beyond that only 82 women of color are.

Why are women leaders leaving their companies? Women are feeling overworked and underappreciated. Who can relate? The study states “women leaders do more to support employee well-being and foster diversity, equity and inclusion.” Any leader, male or female, should know this improves retention and satisfaction, so why are the women who promote these issues so overlooked?

Secondly, women leaders want a better culture at their place of work. This past year, flexibility, well-being, diversity and many more aspects have become more meaningful to women leaders. Companies need to step up and face the fact that the workplace is no longer an 8–5 shift while tied to one specific spot.

Lastly, women face more obstacles, and some are rather silly, when they want to advance. As an example, when it comes to advancing, their personal characteristics and lives are often looked at, so if they are a parent or caring for a parent, there is a much larger chance they will be passed over. And, let’s face it, we all know the majority of women in any sort of family role, is also responsibility for most, if not all, of the family’s housework and raising of kids, if there are any. So, a woman in this type of role at home, will most likely be passed over for advancement at work.

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With 2022 being a year of growth toward equality for women at work, there are still many issues women continue to face. Career expert, Melina Theodorou, lists these, which are only a few of many:

  • Pregnancy discrimination and work-life imbalance.
  • Sexual harassment and workplace sexism.
  • Gender pay gap.
  • Racial discrimination.
  • Breaking the “glass ceiling.”
  • Exclusion in male-dominated fields.
  • Favoritism.

The levels of these issues, and many others, continues to lower themselves as women and companies continue to work together in closing the gaps. But, this has taken decades to do, and most likely will take many more decades until men and women are equal in the workplace (if ever). As a woman who has faced many adversities at work, but who has also risen to leadership levels as well as to business ownership, I can attest to the strength of perseverance and knowing what I wanted in order to get there.
Finally, we close out 2022, It is with a heavy heart that this Women at Work column is being written as it will be the last. Thank you to all my readers who have sent emails of gratitude or words of thanks for making a difference in their lives. To all of you who can relate to one topic or another, I hope you have found support, relief and know you are not alone in this big world of work. In the same sense, I have learned so much in what I have written, that I want to thank everyone who has contributed thoughts and opinions over the years. Make 2023 your year.

Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to news@postbulletin.com .

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