The New Midlife Crisis on OPRAH.COM

I just read a brilliant article by Ada Calhoun, The New Midlife Crisis:  Why (and How) It’s hitting Gen X Women.   

Gen X, the generation often ignored by researchers, employers or even in basic conversations and presentations about generational differences,  had a very different upbringing when compared to their parents or their children.   We are an ambitious generation that created successful companies but also struggled in careers while figuring out how to “balance” work, family and gender dynamics.  Many remained unmarried and childless by choice.  Others married and had children much later in life than previous generations-yes, that’s me!

Midlife has changed, and there is little understanding of midlife challenges and opportunities in the modern era.  I agree with Calhoun about many of the challenges (underemployment, regret about life decisions, etc).  However, I also think our bold and courageous generation continues to shape the world in many positive ways.  Gen X continues to shape organizations, businesses and communities with their independence, work ethic and drive to have a personal life.

The pressure many Gen Xers put on themselves can be a blessing but also a curse.  One key to a more positive midlife is letting go of regret and so much self-censoring while making life more of an adventure.  Generally speaking, many of us were bold and independent in our youth.  We are the generation of big hair, shaved sides, multiple piercings, video games, loud music and mohawks. If there is any generation who can find ways to enjoy it all more-it is ours.  Gen X has done more for this country than most people realize without receiving or even needing the credit for their accomplishments.  We have been leading under the radar for most of our lives, and it is time to raise our hands and voices to audaciously shape the future, especially for women (more on this in a later post).

What does this more modern midlife look like to you?  How are you dealing with the challenges, pressures and stress?  What great adventures are you having in your midlife?  What new opportunities are you pursing?  Let us know by leaving a comment.  We would enjoy hearing from you!

-Dr. Connie

Enjoy OWN’s hilarious video:

 

The Future of Leadership: What Wisdom Will You Share?

It’s almost time for me to take off and present, The Future of Leadership, at the Heartland Center for Leadership’s Annual Institute.

I will focus on the future of leadership in rural communities and plan to ask the audience a few questions about trends they see emerging now, in five years and in ten years.  From my experience, women over 40 have great insights in the past, present and future.  So, I would enjoy the opportunity to hear from this audience!

What do you see, think and feel on this topic?

What trends (changes in society, the economy and the environment) do you see currently? What trends to you see impacting society in 5 years?  What about 10 years?

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Next up, the Connecting Young Nebraskans (CYN) Summit in York, NE.  While this summit is focused on young professionals, I am going to bring a future-focused approach to the theme of the summit:  Creating Life Balance.  

This is a topic I know a lot of you have a great deal of experience with because you have been “balancing life” and “doing it all” for quite some time. 

As women who have experience and wisdom to share, what advice would you give to Millennials who are seeing more life balance?   I would love to use your insights in my presentation later this month.

Please leave a comment and share your leadership wisdom!

Go Wild with Wisdom,

Dr. Connie

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The Future of Women: Goddesses Never Age

My new book crush for women over 40 (or women of any age!) is Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being by Dr. Christiane Northrup.  I have listed to a number of her talks on YouTube; however, this is the first in-depth experience I have had with her work.

She covers the gamut of topics in Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being.  Dr. Northrup addresses everything from health and nutrition to sex and the importance of mindset in the aging process.  There are a few beliefs that she has that I do not totally agree with at this point in my life; however,  this book is one of my absolute favorites!

One of the topics she covers has been impacting my own life lately.  I recently learned that my psoas muscles needed some TLC.  I didn’t even know what the psoas muscle was until a few weeks ago!   I sit a lot and had to make some lifestyle changes.  I changed my workouts and now have a standing desk.  You can learn more about the psoas muscles on Dr. Northrup’s blog:  Why your psoas muscle is the most vital muscle in your body.

One of the themes I noticed through the book was the importance of having fun.  Yes, I am not the only person discussing the importance of fun for everyone!  I am convinced that fun is the fountain of youth.  Think of the healthiest and happiest people you know.  Now, think about how they act and behave.  Are they having fun?

I also realize that “fun” is a little different for everyone.  I want to understand this in greater detail and need a little help.  What are your thoughts about the importance of fun?  What do you enjoy doing?  What does “fun” mean to you?

Go Wild, Act Like an Ageless Goddess and Have Fun!

-Dr. Connie

 

At current trends, it will take 70 years to close the gender wage gap

Welcome to “The Future of Women” blog series.  The Future of Women focus on AskDrConnie.com will highlight current and future trends impacting women around the world.  

The first part of this series highlights a recent publication by the International Labour Office (ILO).   Women at Work:  Trends 2016, focused on examining gender equity globally.  As ILO mentions in their report, gender equity and women’s empowerment are critical to positive global transformation.  Below are excerpts from the report, please read, reflect and share your wisdom by clicking on “Leave a comment” in above!

Let’s dive into the report.  One of my favorite quotes and excerpts from the Executive Summary (beginning on p. xvi) will hit home with many of you:

At current trends, it will take 70 years to close the gender wage gap

Globally, the gender wage gap is estimated to be 23 per cent; in other words, women earn 77 per cent of what men earn. Even when considering hourly wage rates (given the fact that women are working shorter hours than men), women continue to face a persistent gender wage gap, amounting to 10 per cent or more in countries for which data are available. These gaps cannot be explained solely by differences in education or age, but are also linked to the undervaluation of the work that women undertake and of the skills required in female-dominated sectors or occupations, the practice of discrimination, and the need for women to take career breaks to attend to additional care responsibilities, for instance after the birth of a child. Recently, some progress has been made in reducing these gender wage gaps, but improvements are small and, if current trends prevail, it will take more than 70 years before gender wage gaps are closed completely. Reductions in the gender wage gap are mostly attributable to explicit policy actions to address gender imbalances in the labour market, rather than to general improvements in living standards. In fact, the gender wage gap is unrelated to a country’s level of economic development, as some of the countries with high per-capita levels are among those with the highest gender wage gaps. Economic development alone will not ensure an equitable distribution of the gains from growth between men and women.

 

The above information does not come as much of a surprise. I published an article, Entrepreneurial Career Development:  Using Human Capital, Social Capital and Distance Education to Achieve Success, in the Advancing Women in Leadership Journal with two of my distinguished colleagues at the University of Nebraska in 2007.   The issue of pay inequity between genders has been a point of discussion for many years.  However, the conclusions of this report focused on not only the role of women but men as well were bold statements that I really appreciated (p. 94-95):

Conclusion

The present report undertakes to demonstrate that, for substantive gender equality to be achieved, it is essential that societies recognize that both women and men have a right to work and care. In particular, failures to address workers’ family responsibilities underlie sectoral and occupational segregation, gaps in wages, working hours and access to social protection. Thus, gender inequalities at work can be eliminated only by neutralizing the disadvantages stemming from women’s reproductive function and promoting the equal sharing of unpaid care work between women and men, and between the family and society at large. This requires integrated and transformative measures guided by ILO international labour standards that put the elimination of discrimination and the achievement of gender equality at home and at work at the very heart of policy interventions.In view of the implications of the economic crisis on the global care economy, as discussed in the preceding pages, international policy action also entails a profound reorganization of the relations between the fi- nance, the production and the reproduction spheres, with the objective of guaranteeing a sustainable, crisis-free and gender-equitable global economy. In this shifted paradigm, finance and production should serve the needs of reproduction, namely the realm of care which is core to human well-being (Elson, 2014). Achieving gender equality also depends on positioning the issues of the global care deficits and chains and their ramifications in the care economy on the migration agenda, as this issue goes to the heart of the demand for and supply of migrant workers in many contexts. Ensuring that migration, labour and social protection policies are harmonized to protect the rights to care and be cared for will be fundamental in this endeavour (Hennebry 2014; ILO 2014l).As discussed in the present report, genuine gender equality benefits our societies and economies in terms of increased job-rich economic growth, reduced poverty, inequality and social exclusion, and overall improved well-being. It is therefore time to take action. The following overview summarizes the key policy measures discussed in the report and informed by ILO Conventions and Recommendations that would be needed to realize, in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, a sustainable development that leaves no one behind.

Overview of the main policy interventions to achieve gender equality at work in line with ILO international labour standards

Tackling the root causes of sectoral and occupational segregation

  • Encouraging young girls and boys to break gender stereotypes through education and outreach;
  • Offering training to women and men to enter into non-stereotypical fields;
  • Promoting women’s entrepreneurship;
  • Supporting women’s participation and leadership in decision-making, including in governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations.

Addressing the gender wage gap

  • Eliminating unequal treatment of men and women in the labour market;
  • Promoting equal pay for work of equal value through wage transparency, training and gender neutral job evaluations methods;
  • Supporting adequate and inclusive minimum wages and strengthening collective bargaining;
  • Promoting and normalizing good quality part-time work;
  • Limiting long paid hours and overwork;
  • Transforming institutions to prevent and eliminate discrimination;
  • Changing attitudes towards unpaid care work to overcome the motherhood wage gap.

Overview of the main policy interventions to achieve gender equality at work in line with ILO international labour standards

Tackling the root causes of sectoral and occupational segregation

  • Encouraging young girls and boys to break gender stereotypes through education and outreach;
  • Offering training to women and men to enter into non-stereotypical fields;
  • Promoting women’s entrepreneurship;
  • Supporting women’s participation and leadership in decision-making, including in governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations.

Addressing the gender wage gap

  • Eliminating unequal treatment of men and women in the labour market;
  • Promoting equal pay for work of equal value through wage transparency, training and gender neutral job evaluations methods;
  • Supporting adequate and inclusive minimum wages and strengthening collective bargaining;
  • Promoting and normalizing good quality part-time work;
  • Limiting long paid hours and overwork;
  • Transforming institutions to prevent and eliminate discrimination;
  • Changing attitudes towards unpaid care work to overcome the motherhood wage gap.

Implementing a comprehensive framework to achieve the harmonization of work and family responsibilities

  • Providing maternity protection to all women according to international labour standards;
  • Guaranteeing adequate social protection to recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care work;
  • Ensuring the provision of basic infrastructure, in particular in rural areas;
  • Implementing gender-transformative leave policies: increasing leave entitlements for fathers and boosting their take-up rates;
  • Making quality early childhood care and education a universal right;
  • Creating and protecting quality jobs in the care economy;
  • Promoting decent work for care professionals, including domestic and migrant workers;
  • Extending long-term care coverage for older persons;
  • Promoting family-friendly flexible working arrangements;
  • Encouraging individual income taxation to increase women’s labour force participation;
  • Offering work reintegration measures.

This report goes into great depth on a number of topics.  I have only highlighted a few on this post.  If you are interested in the details, please download the full report, Women at Work:  Trends 2016, directly from the ILO’s website.   

Why is this information and The Future of Women series important to women over 40?  Women over 40 have had many of the experiences this report highlights.  We have experienced lower pay for equal work, we have put up with inappropriate comments and we have knowledge about what it takes to balance work, family and everything else we have going on in our lives.   We also have the opportunity to make work and life better for younger women, men and families.  Women over 40 are leading massive change and reform globally, and together we can do more to shape the future!
Please share your leadership reflections, insights and experiences by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” button at the beginning of this post!  
Go Wild with the Future of Women!
-Dr. Connie
 
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