More than 50 years since Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique inspired women with the idea that they could hold a career, be wonderful mothers and wives, have a fulfilling social life, and take care of their daily home lives—women are still struggling to find work-life balance and equality.
“Millions of women feel that they are to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have a family and an active home life (and be thin and beautiful to boot),” said Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton University Professor, in The Atlantic.
More than 78 percent of women also feel they work a “second shift” when it comes to their daily life responsibilities, according to findings from the 2013 Work/Life Balance Survey conducted by Maid Brigade.
In her book, The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family, New York University Sociologist Kathleen Gerson reported that 80 percent of women and 70 percent of men interviewed said they want equality in their relationship. When asked what they would do if this was not possible, the majority of women said they wanted to continue paid employment regardless, while the men said they expected their partner to assume primary responsibility for parenting so they could focus on work.
In honor of Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the ratification of women’s voting rights in the United States, consider these tips from women trying to meet the challenge of achieving well-being.
Maria Goldsholl, Chief Operating Officer, Mom Corps
- Flexibility in your work schedule is key–ask for it or find a company that offers it.
- Plan “me time” and put it on your calendar. Set up date nights with your spouse and schedule time with family and friends. If you have drinks with the girls or a massage planned, you’ll manage your time to make it happen.
Ellen Lawton, JD, Co-Director, George Washington University National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership
- Become an expert at asking for help—from family, friends, neighbors, and fellow parents.
- Use your support system—Pick up the phone when you’re late for a daycare pickup. We’re all in this together!
Cali Williams Yost, CEO & Founder, Flex+Strategy Group|Work+Life Fit, Inc.
- Celebrate success—Start the week by giving yourself credit for last week’s accomplishments.
- Keep a combined work and personal calendar—Make choices throughout the day based on a complete work/life picture.
Marie Stegner, Consumer Health Advocate, Maid Brigade
- Fight guilt— Say “no” and feel good about it. It’s ok to miss an occasional baseball game. Most of us can’t give 100 percent to everything all of the time.
- Rethink clean—Who cares if the beds are not made or the furniture is not dusted on a daily basis? Accept some of the mess in your home and spend time enjoying your life.
Susan King Glosby, MSW, VP of Operations, FIT4MOM
- Manage life with 3 P’s in mind—Prioritize, Persist, and Plan. The more you plan, the better you’ll ensure levels of success at home, work, and in your personal life.
- Keep your own flame burning bright!
Got more ideas? Share your own work/life balance tips in the comments.