In consideration of Mother’s Day this weekend, we thought we’d have a little conversation with our working, business-owning, professional, and all-around rockstar moms. So on our Facebook page last week, we asked:
To the working mothers and mom-preneurs: how do you maintain your work-life balance?
What we found was that maybe this supposed balance doesn’t actually exist! So what’s the answer, then? How do these women manage to participate and be successful in both family and work life? Well, I’ll defer to the experts. This is what our friends and clients had to say:
This post on The Glass Hammer also acknowledged the mythical nature of this kind of balance, and the author, executive coach Ann Daly PhD, offered her strategies for “finding your focus” among both family and professional demands. A large part of that, she says, is “committing to being present in every moment, wherever you are,” echoing what Arlene had mentioned to us on Facebook.
Let’s continue the conversation here! What are your thoughts? If a true work-life balance doesn’t exist, how do you stay on track? Moms, how are able to fulfill both roles? Let us know in a comment below.
P.S.– A happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there from the ladies at the Women’s Business Center!
It’s that time of year again…
We are four months into 2011 and close to the day that symbolizes how far into the following year that women will have had to work to match the money earned by men in 2010 (a mouthful, but it’s true). Believe it or not, there is still a substantial gender disparity in earnings: in 2009, women only earned 77 cents for every dollar that their male counterparts made for comparable work. The gaps are even greater in some career fields and among certain ethnicities.
Did you know that only 3% of CEOs in Fortune 500 companies are women? Or that, for the first time since the 1970s, the number of women in congress is declining? (source: AAUW) It’s not only about pay, but about broader disparities in the representation of women in the private and public sectors.
For further information on pay disparities particularly, pay-equity.org has made available the statistics and reports on wage gaps across industries, occupations, states, education and race over time.
Also, we invite you to watch the expert panel discussion we hosted last year on the gender pay gap, which focused on the causes and implications of the wage gap, as well as how to negotiate your own salary (here).
What you can do:
If you are an employer, this is the time to take a look at your pay practices. Do your pay scales favor men? Consider the questions on this pay equity self-audit.
Individuals can contact their representatives to make clear that the issue is important to their constituents. Ask them to support the legislation that aims to alleviate pay disparities.
Women are also encouraged to advocate on their own behalf. If you think you deserve to make more, then ask for it! Check out these tips for salary negotiation.
Finally, we ask that you observe Equal Pay Day with us on Tuesday, April 12th. Wear red to signify how women are still “in the red” when it comes to their pay and help to raise awareness about this pressing issue.
When Sir Edmund Hillary stood on top of Mt. Everest, he wasn’t alone. Beside him was a Sherpa mountaineer named Tenzing Norgay.
Women business owners and entrepreneurs: you don’t need to go it alone!
Being in business by yourself can sometimes be lonely and isolating. Perhaps you’re having issues and problems and you don’t feel comfortable sharing them with your employees. It’s also hard to know if your family and friends “sugarcoat” the feedback they give you.
Peer mentoring is a tool that many women business owners and professionals are starting to use to develop their businesses and strategies. With the guidance of a trained facilitator, a group of peers—often in similar stages of development—meet to exchange feedback, ideas, and concerns. It is an opportunity to benefit from mutual support and experience, to learn from each other’s successes and mistakes. What is it like going through a state certification process? How do you resolve employee disputes? A peer group not only guides you through your struggles, but can relate to them. This is what makes a group mentoring relationship quite different than a business advisory or coaching relationship: you are all in the same boat. Often times, peer mentoring groups also have an educational component (as is the case with the WBC Forum group), enabling members to expand their knowledge base on emerging business tools and management techniques.
In the 2010 report Roadmap to 2020: Fueling the Growth of Women’s Business Enterprise, Marsha Firestone, WPO President and Founder, asserts the value of this model. She says that “collaborative learning draws out the insight and wisdom of each individual participant, resulting in a mix of ideas that benefits the whole.”
What makes a good group:
The group should be comprised of women whose businesses do not compete with yours but are similar in size, revenues and other key characteristics. Some groups might be divided by similar industry, like for those in medical or legal fields, or maybe for those running established family businesses. Group dynamics and group energy are important, and can increase your determination and encourage you to achieve your goals. Openness and honesty is key. Firestone adds: “The effectiveness of the group is entirely dependent on the participants’ willingness to share. Only when people are open about discussing their finances and other sensitive issues will the group benefit the most.”
Benefits to you:
The group functions not only as a sounding board for your issues, but from the members’ collective experience, you gain insight that you would not have gotten from family members or friends, or even mentors. The bonds forged between members of the group are equally as important, and can lead to strategic alliances and future collaborations. And perhaps most importantly, the support of the peer group drives you as a business owner to action: an unspoken intention is not as powerful as an intention you share with a group of peers.
Being a member of a group can provide you with inspiration, ideas and motivation.
Remember when we wrote back in March about the work being done to promote contracting opportunities for women and minorities in small business? While those initiatives were focused here in New York State, they coincided with SBA’s initial proposal in February to account for the under-representation of women business owners in federal contracting.
Well this month, the SBA has made its rule official: to implement a women-owned small business (WOSB) contracting program. Because the federally-set minimum of 5% contract allocation to WOSBs has not yet been met, the program will offer the tools and support needed to make up for this deficiency. Astoundingly, 83 different industries have been identified (by this RAND study) in which WOSBs are under-represented or substantially under-represented.
There are some noteworthy provisions of the new rule:
- “Women-owned” is defined as 51% ownership and control of the business by a female US citizen. The firm must be “small” in its primary industry in accordance with SBA’s size standards for that industry.
- The final rule removes the requirement, set forth in a prior proposed version, that each federal agency certify that it had engaged in discrimination against women-owned small businesses in order for the program to apply to contracting by that agency.
- The proposed rule allows women-owned small businesses to self-certify as “WOSBs” or to be certified by third-party certifiers, including government entities and private certification groups. WOSBs that self-certify are required to submit a robust certification verification, to complete the certifications at the federal Online Representation and Certification Application (“ORCA”) Web site, and also to submit a core set of eligibility-related documents to an online “document repository” to be maintained by the SBA.
You can read the full run-down of the final rule components here: PDF
SBA will begin a 120-day implementation process for the program. Contracts should be available in early 2011.
You may know that the Canisius College Women’s Business Center has taken increased measures in the past year to help women in business become certified and obtain contracts, particularly with our certification and contracting webinar series. We look forward to continuing this necessary focus on contract procurement opportunities for women-owned business and working with the SBA as it implements this crucial program.
What do you think about the final rule? Have you experienced the certification and contracting process? Leave a comment.
This post is inspired by a December 2009 report on the unique management style of women proprietors and their growing contribution to the US economy. Issued by The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute, the report states that women, as owners and managers are:
- more diligently engaged in strategic and tactical facets of their business
- more proactively customer-focused
- more likely to incorporate community and environment into their business plans
- more receptive to input and guidance from internal and external advisors
- more committed to creating opportunities for others.
The Institute cites these qualities among other reasons for a projected increase in jobs created by woman-owned small business. In fact, by 2018, they forecast that women small business owners will create 5 to 5.5 million new jobs in the US, thereby “transforming the workplace of tomorrow into a far more inclusive, horizontally managed environment.”
Aside from these fantastic economic projections, I think the most interesting point the report makes is that the woman business owner is a more engaged proprietor. Because women are more careful in cultivating their customer base and more invested in creating opportunities, positive working relationships and meaningful contributions to their business and community, the impact of women-owned business will not only be greater by 2018, but it will constructively benefit the environment in which we work and do business.
Click here to find the full report.
– Center for Women’s Business Research
– Committee of 200
- The Hot Mommas® Project Mission
- NAFE (The National Association for Female Executives)
- National Women’s Business Council
- NAWBO (The National Association of Women Business Owners)
- OWBO (The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership)
- SBA (The U.S. Small Business Administration)
- SBDCs (The Office of Small Business Development Centers)
- Small Biz Nation
- WBENC (The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council)
- WPO (The Women Presidents’ Organization)
Find the full post on the SCORE Women’s Success Blog
You can also check out our blogroll down on the right-hand side.
What sites do you find helpful? Let us know in a comment below.
As a follow-up to our previous post, we’d like to share the video of our expert panel discussion, held at Canisius College last week.
Find the the rest of our talk on our youtube channel, CanisiusWBC.
What did you take away from this discussion? Let us know in a comment below.
Did you know that, even in 2010, there is still a considerable pay gap for women in the United States? According to the Corporate Gender Gap 2010 Report, issued by the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, women make, on average, only 77% of the average male income. This incredible margin exists despite the fact that women account for more than half of the workforce (52%) and over half of college graduates. With the majority of our “human talent” represented by women, how is it that we are still consistently underpaid and undervalued, compared to our male counterparts?
In an effort to acknowledge this continued disparity, next week, on April 20th, the Women’s Business Center will be observing Equal Pay Day. This day, which symbolizes how far into 2010 women must work to earn what men made in 2009, was established by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 to spread public awareness of gender wage disparity. That day, we ask that you wear red to illustrate how women are still “in the red” when it comes to their pay.
We also invite you to an event hosted by the Canisius College Women’s Studies Department and the Women’s Business Center scheduled for that Tuesday: “Equal Pay Day: A Dicussion and Workshop on Closing the Gender Pay Gap.” A panel discussion will address the realities of the gender pay gap issue and the following workshop will present tatics for women and students to effectively negotiate their salary. This event is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.
*all statistics from The World Economic Forum. Click here to access the full reports.
What do you think about pay equity? Leave a comment.
Here in Buffalo, the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women and the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library are presenting a whole month of events. See the full line up here (adobe pdf).
If you’re on Twitter, I recommend following @womenable, published by Julie Weeks. She has a great series of “You Go Girls” posts in honor of Women’s History Month. She tweeted this great article yesterday about the diversity of women entrepreneurs, “The Power Girls.” Check it out here.
Are you doing anything to celebrate this month? If you’re local, do you plan on attending any of the special events?
We came across an interesting article from the Boston Herald’s Women Business News section. It investigates the value of women helping women in business and in professional fields. The author Maria J. Krokidas maintains that, despite positive trends in the last few decades, women still face disadvantages in the workplace and women-owned businesses continue to be underrepresented in the marketplace.
She writes: “We too need to establish and promote networks and relationships that support women and women-owned ventures, and use our buying power to advance each other’s businesses.”
Find the full article here (http://bostonherald.com/business/womens/general/view.bg?articleid=1227079)