Healthy Work, Healthy Women Workshop Spring (2014)

Today’s Issues for Women in the Workplace

These issues impact women and the patients they care for so the strategies can be used by providers for themselves and passed on to their patients.

“If we can walk away from this evening with a decision to be as kind and accepting of ourselves as we are for the people we care for in work and personal lives that would be a great start.” Judy Hoffman, Coastline EAP

“Learn to speak the language of functional and business outcomes. It enhances your credibility” Susan Colantuono, Leading Women

“Public policy can move the agenda and dictate culture, we don’t need to wait.” Marcia Cone, Women’s Fund

Survey: conducted in preparation for this conference.

Susan Colantuono: What Organizations and Women Can Do

The Vision 2020 report indicates that RI and the nation has a lot of work to do to resolving gender issues in the workplace.
Things organizations can do:
• Companies need to be more conscientious about doing wage equity audits on a routine basis; many don’t and even if they do the gaps will spread if they are done infrequently
• Managers have to be held accountable for not creating inequities
• Require diverse slates of candidates for senior level positions

Things women can do:
• Have to hold managers accountable for these stereotypes and counter them.
• Have conversations with Human Resources about doing wage equity audits and other best practices
• Share the Vision 2020 with Human Resources
• Get better at negotiating for compensation and benefits
• Must ask what is their company’s philosophy for advancing women
• Work with mentors to get help with setting and achieving professional goals, navigating politics, perspectives and de-stressing
• Use preparatory speech so comments and contributions are not discounted. Make conversation to bring men in and give them time to pay attention to what you are saying.
• Must add to identity, expand who you are as an employee and speak the language of all components of the organization:
o Understand the functional outcomes that contribute to organizational success beyond patient outcomes. Understand how you can contribute to improving them.
o Also pay attention to the business outcomes of the whole organization and understand how you can help the whole organization move forward. With this business acumen language you will be seen as someone who should be promoted.

What do male managers around the world say about barriers to advancement of women?
• Women don’t show enough business acumen, they don’t understand what the people at the top care about in terms of metrics. Don’t understand the business of running the business. Women believe individual achievements should get you ahead but it is not enough.
• Men’s culture of mentorship and business acumen is stronger than women’s
• Men are more comfortable with other men. People are more comfortable with people who are like them and tend to hire people who are similar to them.
• Women are expected to be the assistant, wife, mistress or lover; someone to talk with about problems. Men are not seeing women as executive or administrator.
• Similarly, med have insider status and women are outsiders
• Motherhood penalty/Fatherhood reward. In organizations women who are mothers are seen as less capable, competent and committed than men who are fathers. Fathers are seen as more capable than single men.
• The man is the breadwinner in the family and has the greater income needs; women are working for “pin money”
• Women who are mothers change their priorities and “wouldn’t want that job, there is too much travel”
• Most men see the work world as totally separate from their personal world and each has own rules. Most women see the work world as a piece of their personal world. The rules in one roll over to the other. When women become mothers, our work world is seen as shrinking by male counterparts. Even if a woman is seriously committed to advancing in her career and has resources in place to help her do both.

Judy Hoffman: Improve the Inner Journey

Women and men handle stressful situations differently so they need to bring different strategies for coping in the workplace. During transition women focus on:
• Brain dump
• To do list
• Replaying, questioning conversations, questioning decisions
• Negative self-talk

And not on:
• Basking in their day
• Conscious permission to let go of the day, think of something fun

Try these to enhance the interior journey:
• Strive for excellence not perfection
• Make a decision and then let it go. Interior post-decision monologue is a huge time waster; buy time and more peace of mind.
• Just say no. Get comfortable with saying no to other’s requests and demands and cut off any associated guilt.
• Repeat the phrase I am a mere mortal I can’t do everything. I do what I can and that is enough.
• Quiet the voice that is on a continuous loop. Self-help at or seek professional help if you need it.
• Reframe the Must Do list and realize that wish lists will be met over decades; you can have a sequential career not everything at the same time. Slow down and believe the evidence that mindfulness, yoga, exercise, meditation works. Get 6 to 8 hours sleep and save time during the day by not revisiting decisions.
• Save energy for dealing with what actually happens rather than spending it on what might happen.
• Enjoy the mystery of not knowing what the future may bring. May have to shift and use positive self-talk about strengths.
• Women must work together to make the shifts in organizations.

How can women push forward without losing who they are? Women aren’t being inauthentic by caring about the business metrics since the organization can’t grow without meeting them. If women care about the success of the organization they work for they must embrace the business metrics as well as the others.

Ellen Flynn: Use Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness Practice exercises cultivate the part of the nervous system that targets healing, wellbeing, ease and balance. In Mindfulness Practice you pay attention in the present moment on purpose and non-judgmentally. It helps to encounter who you are in the moment so other things can be let go and, thereby, reduce stress.

Marcia Cone: Become Active in Promoting Policy

• Policy dictates Culture. Experience in Scandinavia confirmed that policy dictates culture. They have created policies to bring changes to work life balance and, as a result, the culture is shifting; people from all walks of life and backgrounds appear to believe in the policy. In the US we believe that culture dictates public policy and policies are born when the culture is amenable to it but this appears not to be the case.

Public policy moves the Agenda: Example Iceland Childcare Policy: In Iceland Universal childcare is standardized and starts at 9 months because family leave is 9 months: 3 months to the mother, 3 months to the father, and 3 months that can be split as the family chooses. This works despite the fact that Iceland has one of the highest birth rate in the world. Research shows better childcare has substantially improved health outcomes.

Public Policy moves the Agenda: Example Corporate Boards in Iceland:
The business community in Iceland passed a law that mandated corporate boards to have not less than 40% men or women and no more than 60%. Corporations were given 4 years to ramp up and not one board had the required percentage until the deadline.

• Research says that companies with women at the top perform better but this is not being recognized in individual companies. There has been some evolution with more women in the work force and more women as the primary breadwinners in their family than ever before but policy has not kept pace with these changes

• Unequal pay and benefits results in increased poverty. When 60% of the population aged 65 is female and almost 100% of the population age 90 is female and, in retirement, women are living on 50% less than men there are major economic implications for the population. RI is projected to be the second oldest state in the country so these issues will impact the state greatly.

Public Policy working on in RI to move women forward:
• Representation in corporate sector (Vision 2020); women need to be at the table to keep issues at the forefront. Have more than doubled the number of women served on commissions and boards.
• RI is the third state to pass paid family leave (4 weeks) with the broadest definition of family in the country and the only one in the country with job protection. (Rolls out 1/1/14). Since men or women can take leave it starts to shift the paradigm around who are the caregivers. Family Leave Act for caregivers is also gaining momentum on the federal level.

Women’s Fund wants to make RI the first gender equality place in the nation and will be focusing on:
• Representation including corporate boards,
• Workforce and work place policies such as equal pay, pregnancy discrimination and long-term care issues.
• Reducing the holes in RI pay equity law

To Learn More:

• April 3, Women’s Health Council Workshop
Healthy Work and Healthy Women: Tools for Transformation
Continuing the strategic conversation
started at our 2013 Fourth Annual Quality Conference:
Healthy Work and Healthy Women: Today’s Issues for Women in the Workplace
Through case studies, role-playing and discussions with experts we will embrace the tools to transform how you and your patients function in the workplace.

• Leading Women:
• The Women’s Fund of RI:

• Also see suggested readings for the Conference