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Sharing the WorkWhat My Family and Career Taught Me about Breaking Through (and Holding the Door Open for Others)$
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Myra Strober

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034388

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034388.001.0001

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Lessons Learned about Sharing the Work

Lessons Learned about Sharing the Work

(p.213) 12 Lessons Learned about Sharing the Work
Sharing the Work

Myra Strober

John Donahoe

The MIT Press

What does one have to do to create a life that includes both a successful career and a loving family? The success of Sheryl Sandburg’s book, Lean In, is testimony to women’s fervent wish to succeed at demanding jobs. But leaning in--hard work, perseverance and effectiveness—is not enough and cannot by themselves generate occupational equity. For a woman to achieve power, she needs a favorable legal environment, a societal ideology that promotes gender equality, institutions that actively support her aspirations, and allies, both male and female who lend a hand along the way.Widespread success requires a world where society and employers meet women half way. In my own career, President Johnson’s Executive Orders 11246 and 11374, and Bernice Sandler and the Women’s Equity Action League’s complaint to the U.S. Department of Labor were critical for my success. The value of male allies is inestimable. There is no optimum time to have a child; there are advantages and disadvantages to both early and late parenthood. The most important career decision you will make is whom you partner with or marry. Forgiveness is critical to moving on in life. Although nobody can “have it all,” two people committed to two demanding careers and a family can succeed at both, but they must prioritize their activities carefully. Work and family are rarely in balance. It is important to keep an eye out to discern when the imbalance requires correction. Public policies are inextricably linked to achievement of personal and professional goals. The gender revolution has stalled; women are still paid less than men and their representation in the C-suite and on corporate boards remains low. In academia, problems continue as well, particularly in business schools. New legislation providing for paid parental leave is high on the list of policies that need change. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides only unpaid leave for certain employees. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has proposed a bill for paid leave, but it has languished. Child care should be subsidized for those whose incomes are low, and the quality of child care needs to be improved, in part by providing more training for those who work with our youngest children. I expect to continue to work on issues of gender equality and the reform of economic theory, and I invite the reader to join me in this work.

Keywords:   Combining career and family, Sheryl Sandburg, Leaning in is not enough, No optimum time to have a child, Public policies linked to personal and professional success, Gender revolution stalled, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) not enough, Need paid parental leave, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Need child care reform

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