Women at Work

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jun 21 2022

This tweet by L’Oreal Thompson Payton really hit me hard. I’ve been thinking a lot about women at work. It’s a necessary part of today’s conversation, especially as we face the great resignation. L’Oreal’s tweet was the sign I needed to get this blog out of my head and onto the page.

 

 

As the owner of a woman-run business, I’ve paid special attention to the experiences of the women working for me and those we work with. I see how much work women need to do the work.  Still today the majority of household and parenting labor, among other things, falls on women. I’ve had my own experiences with this over the years and faced my own prejudice when it comes to being a working woman.

Motherhood and Work

An experience I had many years ago still sticks with me. When I announced my first pregnancy to my clients, I was shocked at some of the reactions. A few clients, women, openly said they hoped I’d be as tough after I had kids. They questioned my ability to be a parent and an agent. They challenged me in a way that made me question myself. I’d never been a parent before. I didn’t know if I could do both, especially when my business partners (women with kids) didn’t.

So I doubled down. In a way I bet my male colleagues with kids, never had to. I worked harder. I rarely talked about my kids (few even knew I had them) and I kept it that way. I feared that if I shared my experiences as a mother and parent I would be judged critically and lose my edge. Not because I would lose my edge, but because others would view it that way.

These days I watch my male colleagues post photos of their kids and talk about the work of parenting while working and I wonder. Would authors applaud and ooh and ah at a woman who did that in the same way they do when men make those posts? I don’t think so. Not even today. I think today men are still lauded for doing the work of parenting while working. Women are challenged and questioned. Can they really do both?

A Long Way to Go

It wasn’t until 1988 that women were finally able to get a business loan without the requirement of a male cosigner. 19-Freaking-88! WTH. And still, we have a long way to go. We fight harder for our women authors as proved by #publishingpaidme. We challenge readers who harshly criticize books they view as targeted to women only (romance). We still separate our motherhood from our careers–even in the day of Zoom.

I think what was most discouraging about this experience for me and about what I see online is that it’s not just men doing this to women, but women. We can’t expect others to make the change we want and support us in our fight if we aren’t supporting each other.

So to all of you moms running the world and your business and a career. I applaud you. I know you can do it all. I’m sad that you still have to.

 

 

 

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