Image source: Reuters
Next week Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson may be voted in as the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Judge Jackson has a strong professional record and, according to CNN, an unusually high level (53%) of public support.
Her success makes me feel optimistic that in some ways, our country is becoming more diverse and inclusive. Thank goodness!
And, the proud look on Judge Jackson’s daughter Leila’s face during the confirmation hearings is a sign that future generations are watching and are inspired by her example, too.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and her daughter, Leila Jackson, on the first day of Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
Image source: Sarahbeth Maney for the New York Times
Diversity for the Win!
As a woman, I understand and relate to the challenges and obstacles other women, including Judge Jackson, face. On a deeper level, though, I’m thrilled that she’s an African American woman. Discrimination of any kind is not OK.
As I see it, a move toward greater diversity and inclusivity—especially in a position as influential as a Supreme Court nomination–is ultimately a win for all Americans. I believe that diverse voices and perspectives make life on Earth not only more just but also more functional, beautiful, and even sustainable.
As a woman I am relatively well equipped to share resources to help other women (see below!). But I’m also deeply committed to supporting efforts to increase diversity of other types.
Women Earn Significantly Less than Men
Today in the US, women still earn about 17% less than men for comparable work. Seriously? While the gap between men’s and women’s earnings has narrowed, it’s still embarrassingly large.
Median earnings by gender since 1980.
Image source: Business Insider
To make matters worse, the pandemic has been disproportionately harder on women (and members of other disadvantaged groups!). As you can see from the graph, both men and women faced lower earnings beginning in 2020 as a result of COVID.
But many lower-paid women have completely dropped out of the labor force since the pandemic. In fact, women’s participation in the labor force in the US hit a 33 year low in 2020 and, while it has increased a little, still lags significantly behind men’s.
The Hidden “Motherhood Penalty”
This feels absurd for 2022, but according to the data, men appear to actually get rewarded financially for having children, but women don’t. While working mothers get paid a little more than women without children, working fathers make significantly more than their male counterparts without kids: $224 per week more, in fact.
This difference was explained by a Congressional report in part as a “perception” issue by employers. According to the report, some employers may see motherhood as a "signal of lower levels of commitment and professional competence," while fatherhood instead represents "increased work commitment and stability."
Weekly earnings by gender with and without children.
Image source: Business Insider
Closing the Gender Gap
One group—HeyMama—is trying to change perceptions of motherhood for the better. (And yes, I happen to be a HayMama member, but I have no incentive to share–other than highlighting awesomeness when I see it!)
HeyMama’s Motherhood on the Resume (MOTR) initiative encourages women to put motherhood on their resumes because it represents significant skills.
The group states that American workers believe that working moms bring the following skillset to work with them:
How motherhood is a training ground for leadership.
Image source: HeyMama
Career Resources for Women
Especially if you’re in a leadership position, you can keep an eye out for biases and discrepancies in your own workplace and mitigate them. You can design policies that support mothers, amplify the contributions and success of women, and buy from women-owned-businesses.
In addition, here are some resources for supporting women’s career success that we at AdaRose have actually tried and recommend personally. There are also some stellar resources for promoting greater diversity and inclusion generally (not limited to supporting women). Are there others that you’d recommend?
For Women in Any Field
What it is: A social and professional network for working mothers.
Goal: To support “professionally ambitious women” in growing both their careers and families via information sharing, networking, and other resources.
Dues & Requirements: Membership is by application only, and fees are $350 per year.
What it is: A global platform of over 100K professional women. It’s closely affiliated with a book of the same title by speaker and consultant Claire Wasserman.
Goal: Provides education and support for its members to advance their careers, grow wealth, or start businesses. Also includes job boards, a conference, and links to other members of the community.
Dues & Requirements: A “community” membership is free, paid membership is $149 per year and provides access to coaching, membership lists, and video content.
What it is: A community of over 75K professional women.
Goal: Help women “succeed at work together” through networking, advice, and guidance on specific topics. Includes a salary database and a “talent pool” to support women on their job search.
Dues & Requirements: Membership is free.
What it is: An initiative by Google that empowers women and other under-represented groups to celebrate their accomplishments and achievements in the personal and professional realms.
Goal: To improve self promotion skills and challenge the social perception of self promotion.
Dues & Requirements: More than 800 organizations have implemented the program in partnership with the initiative. Here’s how you can bring it to your company and/or become a program facilitator.
For Women in the Health / Digital Health Industry
What it is: A podcast and community (including a Slack channel) that highlights the achievements and perspectives of women in the health information technology industry and supports networking and career development.
Goal: Provide “support, encouragement, pep talks, inspiration, and more for women, by women.”
Dues & Requirements: It’s free to join, there are also sponsorship opportunities for companies.
What it is: An organization supported by the HLTH Foundation that matches mid-senior level women with mentors to support their career advancement.
Goal: To “improve gender equity in healthcare leadership.”
Dues & Requirements: It’s free to join as a mentee or to volunteer as a mentor, though you have to meet eligibility requirements in both cases.
Women in Healthcare Information Technology
What it is: A group affiliated with the Northern and Southern California Chapters Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS) that organizes mentorships and events both online and in-person to support women through career advice and guidance.
Goal: To “leverage our collective experience and networks to help women achieve their potential in Healthcare IT.”
Dues & Requirements: Services are offered free, and the group may even provide a small stipend for mentors and mentees to meet in person.
For Greater Diversity and Inclusion in the Health Industry
Onboard Health What it is: An executive search and advisory firm that works with organizations and individuals to build powerful teams and cultures.
Goal: Building an equitable future of health.
Dues & Requirements: The job board is open to the public at no cost. Organizations pay for advisory services and placing job listings (as little as $25 for one post), or more for a membership.