February 01, 2002
Women Execs Changing the Workplace
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>The rise of women executives to power is a factor pushing the adoption of family-friendly policies in many workplaces, the Reuters news agency reports.
These policies are bringing relief to many employees who have been stretched to the breaking point by the dual demands of job and home. They're also allowing still more women to enter management.
"The first generation of women managers felt that they had to act like men to get ahead," said Charlene Bleakley, of Los Angeles, an IBM divisional sales manager. "Now women realize they don't have to change and act like a man to get into management."
In the last decade, according to a survey from behavioral scientists Sirota Consulting, of Purchase, N.Y., women managers nationally increased from 34 percent of the total management pool to 44 percent.
"Some women managers try to emulate the 'work work work' ethic where the men were 20 years ago," said Jeffrey Saltzman, chief executive officer of Sirota. But today "female executives are appearing who try to bring a little dose of humanity and sanity into the workplace."
The executives are getting help from technologies that allow them to work from home, as well as from pressure on their businesses to woo talent with family-friendly benefits.
More than men, women recognize "our national policies and practices related to organizing work need changing," observed Lotte Bailyn, professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management, in Cambridge, Mass.
Increasingly, these women reject "false assumptions that your first priority is to your work and that the longer hours you work the more productive you are," Bailyn said.
"The old male military model, which was to give your life to the company," is no longer honored by women executives, added Gail Blanke, author and president of Lifedesigns, an executive coaching firm in New York City. "The idea that there's work on one side and life on the other side is ridiculous," she said.
Blanke added that women managers are creating "an infinitely better work place" because they see companies "as a collection of individuals who respect each other and who assume each other's commitment. If this is the child's hockey game for you to go to, you'll go."
To read the Reuters story, visit USA Today