with Sara and Veronica
We're two moms with different backgrounds, jobs and points of view, writing about our opinions on the political and social issues affecting working moms. We'll also keep our eye on the media and the celebrity mom world to highlight issues that are relevant to your life.
Check out our personal blogs: Veronica's Blog and Sara's Blog
The basis for tome’s like Linda Hirshman‘s Get To Work and Lisa Bennett’s Feminine Mistake may appear to be nothing more than telling women what to do but if you can ignore the horrible presentation, the real issue is that Hirshman, Bennett and others are seriously tired of seeing women make up the majority of those living in poverty. Not just making up a large percentage, but that women end up there because we take time out of work to care for our family members.
* Women comprise 56% of Americans over 18 who live in poverty. [cite]
* In 2004, 28.4 percent of households headed by single women were poor. [cite]
* Nearly two-thirds of white women who are poor in old age have not been poor in the earlier years. This demonstrates an increased risk or a newly emerging risk of poverty for many white women. [cite]
* Old age poverty for African-American women reflects economic disadvantages in their earlier years compared with white women. [cite]
* In the United States, the share of elderly women living in poverty is highest among divorced or separated women (37 percent), followed by widowed women (28 percent), never-married women (22 percent), and married women (10 percent). [cite]
Despite the fact that as a mother our number one concern is for our family’s well-being, we should also be concerned for our personal well-being. Throw off that guilt shawl and selfish label like last winter’s coat. Even when we decide to work part-time, take a few years off, or even as full-time workers, we need to make economics are top priority. There’s a saying that women are just a divorce or tragedy away from the welfare line (see stats above). Our economic status most likely will go down if we divorce or our partner dies.
If the worse does happen or the kids are now in school, we have to dust off our resume and pant suit to head back to cubicleland. But how does one readjust to work after 5-10 years out?
If you have the time, try to be a volunteer/intern with a non-profit. They often need help and just might welcome the skills of a former manager. Did you use to work in public relations? I bet there’s a community group near you who might be in need of someone to write their press releases. One such Chicago organization is ParentsWork. They’re looking for a volunteer assistant director to work with the founder/director in expanding membership. Their current campaign is trying to maintain full-day classes in the Evanston School District.
Maybe you have a professional degree like law? Find out if your local bar especially the women’s bar or women’s caucus holds networking or on-ramping events. There’s such an event happening in Chicago on May 6th!
The National Association of Women Lawyers presents “Ready to On-Ramp?”
When: May 6, 2008, 8:30-2:00, with optional workshop from 2:00-3:00
Where: The Offices of Jenner & Block 330 N. Wabash Avenue
Cost: $30, including breakfast and lunch
This full-day event, which received rave reviews when presented in DC last year, is NAWL’s program specifically designed to assist attorneys who have taken time off in developing their own personal strategy for re-entering the workplace. To register and for more information visit their website.
I don’t believe the answer to the economic risks of staying home is to lecture women like they are dumb. Seriously, we all know we’re not dumb. As if you were a top lawyer and then that baby stole your brain…Some days we feel like that though! Rather I’d lke to offer just a few suggestions to minimize the effect staying at home will have on your career. There will always be a price paid for staying at home. While more companies are trying to keep their SAHMs connected to the office, we’re not in a place where all companies are doing this. That’s where you need to keep an eye on it. I know, you’re staying at home, that’s fine and dandy. But one day you may or have to return to work. Let’s all be Girl Scouts and be prepared.
Readers: If you returned to the workforce after a significant time out, what tricks helped you? If you helped women on-ramp after years of caregiving, what advise would you give them? And let’s be nice…no advise about never staying at home…Unless you did and totally regretted it.
Subscribe to blog via RSS