Monday, November 2, 2009


This month a new book was released The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything and the Time Magazine cover story is The State of the American Woman. The impetus for the press coverage about women is that it is expected that by the end of the year, for the first time in history, the majority of American workers will be women. Now this is being driven by advances of women in the workplace but unfortunately also largely by the economic downturn which has hit men harder than it hit women.

I have not yet read the Shriver Report so I will let you know my thoughts after I read it. But I have heard her in various interviews about the book. I have read the various articles and polls within Time Magazine. As you would expect there are several interesting statistics on the progress made over the last 40 years. In 1972, only 7% of students playing high school sports were girls; now the number is six times as high. Close to half of all law and medical degrees go to women, up from fewer than 10% in 1970. But there are also statistics on challenges that remain. Women are only about 10% of civil engineers and a third of physicians and surgeons. We have previously discussed on this blog that boardrooms and corner offices are still filled mainly by men. The detail in the magazine on the polls and the different answers based on demographics is worth reading. The overall conclusion is clear, the roles of men and women have changed dramatically in the last 40 years.

To me, the most interesting part of all of this has been that men and women agree on a major remaining challenge. They agree that government and businesses have failed to adjust enough to the changes in the family. Has your company changed enough? The statistics would suggest a dramatic shift in reality happened slowly over the last 40 years. Should we stop and re-evaluate top to bottom what needs to change in business to address the new reality? Last week's post was on Corporate Cultures, do they reflect the new reality of the American workforce?

Until Next Time,

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