About a year ago I made the plunge and upgraded my laptop to a newer, faster and shinier model. I did a simple migration of all the data off the old laptop over to the new one and just dumped all of it into a file I called “old lptp”and promptly forgot about most of the stuff in it.
This totally had nothing to do with procrastination.
Whatever the motivation, as I was digging through all my old files I found a gem that I wanted to dust off and share. I used to have a printout of this taped to the wall next to my desk. It was true then, and it is true now, if you live your life well within the boundary of your safety zone you are really not living at all. To grow and learn, you must stretch out of the areas you feel most comfortable, doing new things is extremely uncomfortable!
This year I began participating in online writing ‘contests’. Little contests run by various bloggers around the interwebs. That was a serious step outside of my comfort zone! What have you done recently that made you sweat a bit?
ps: This is an old file, I have no idea where the image came from and am unable to attribute. If you know the source please email me and I will add it immediately.
There is no question that the Wage Gap still exists within America. The ever-so-reliable Wikipedia puts it at $ .77 for every $1.00 a man makes in this country. This is shameful, yes, but this is not true across industries.
Late last year a report, Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation (STEM = science, technology, engineering, mathematics) reported on some interesting information when it comes to the equal pay of women within these industries.
They found there is greater income parity between genders within these fields than there is the market as a whole. Specifically:
In non-STEM jobs, men earn 21 percent more hourly than women, on average; but in STEM jobs, the hourly difference drops to 14 percent. Women with STEM jobs also earn 33 percent more than women in non-STEM jobs – $31.11 per hour versus $19.26 per hour – which exceeds the 25 percent earnings premium for men in STEM.
I find this quite interesting, considering the traditional domination of men in these industries. Clearly, women in these industries know what they are worth and won’t take any guff from the ‘ol boys club incumbents.
Engineering, perhaps the most male dominated of this male dominated bunch actually had the smallest gap in pay. Meaning, in the hallowed halls (or cube farms) of engineering departments across the US, women make very close to what men make. In the land of math and science, women get equal pay for equal work.
Despite this, though, women are still hard to find in these fields. In my department I have four women out of a team of 30 (five if you count me), and it is not for lack of trying either. Female applicants are few and far between in my industry.
Why is it that women make up 48% of the US workforce and yet hold only 24% of STEM jobs? I surely don’t know the answer to that, but we need to find it and change it.
You cannot change the rules if you don’t play the game.
I love jewelry. Who doesn’t? I love designs that are unique and interesting, not the same ‘ol same ‘ol that everyone else has because their husband went to… well, we’ll leave that place nameless here.
I love jewelry, and I love it even more when it is brought to us by a powerful and independent woman with a desire to give something back, to help foster and grow industry and well being everywhere she goes. I read about her in a blog post on Huffington Post and just had to share her story here.
I’d like to introduce you all to Zavida Gemstones, a company started by a 40 something year old woman who decided she was done with a successful corporate career and ready for something different. Something that had a bit more shine and shimmer to it. And she did it!
She walked out of her corporate office for the last time and launched Zavida Gemstones, a business that is designed to bring us beautiful, unique, handcrafted jewelry from around the world while simultaneously supporting the artists in developing countries. And, they gives 25% of their profits back to the areas where the gems are mined and where the artists do their crafts. Very inspiring.
I love businesses that support their community in this fashion, businesses with a concern for humanity backing them, up as opposed to mindless grubbing for profit. It is, in fact, possible to make money and run a successful business while sporting a concern for human well-being. Zavida Gemstones is a great example.
So ladies, when you next feel a hankering for some new bling, check out their website here, and sport your gorgeous bling with an even bigger smile knowing you also supported local artisans in perpetuating their craft.
Send me some pics of your beautiful bling and I’ll post it up on the site! Happy shimmerings!
I recently had a conversation with a young, intelligent, and highly capable woman that truly shocked me.
We were discussing the perennial topic of ‘what we want to do when we grow up’ and she made a comment that she wanted to be a stay at home mom. The comment shocked me speechless (which is saying a lot, trust me). So many thoughts flitted through my mind – women make up the fastest growing segment of the population living under poverty level in the US, the divorce rate in this country is something on the order of 50%, and even if you find a truly ‘great man’ what if Shit Happens and he suddenly is laid off or cannot work – In short, I could not believe that a woman would ever make such a choice in this day and age.
This isn’t about me spouting of some radical feminist propaganda (though I absolutely count myself as a feminist! How can a woman not?). There are very real reasons why this is a poor choice for any woman to make.
Here is why it is a bad idea for women to be stay-at-home mom’s. Now wait! Before you light me up about how it is your personal choice (and of course it is… if you want to increase your families exposure to a serious fuck-a-roo please do) and that it is better for the children (Oh, I don’t think so, take a look at the statistics regarding income and future economic state for children raised this way), take a gander at what follows. Or better yet – do some digging on your own. Go visit the US Census Bureau’s website and do a bit of digging on Poverty in the US and it’s impact on women and children; or spend some time reading the results of a Google search on women and poverty in the US. I dare you.
- Poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women. In 2009 just under 30% of households headed by single women fell beneath the poverty line. That is a remarkably high number. (Only 16.9% of families headed by single men fell under the poverty line.)
- Children make up 35% of the poor population in this US. In 2008 that came out to over 15 million children living in poverty in the United States.
- It isn’t only the single mom’s who are having a hard time of it – according to American Progress 54% of women living under the poverty line are single with no dependents. These are single women who are unable to adequately provide for themselves.
- In the US, about 50% of all first time marriages end in divorce.
And just in case you are thinking that you are extraordinarily lucky and you’ve landed yourself a true gentleman who would never leave you and your offspring hanging, or that you and your man are so incredibly in love divorce would simply never happen:
- Something on the order of 58% of all marriages end with the husbands death.
- The year 2000 census indicated that women were more than 4 times likely to be widowed than men
- 80% of widows living in poverty were not poor before their husbands died.
Yes, I know, this is a very morbid, and uncomfortable topic to consider. But this is reality. And it doesn’t need to be so morbid for the effect to be dire. Your husband could simply be laid off in tough economic times and be unable to find another job or he could experience an injury that prevents him from working altogether or in his previous role. The possibilities are endless.
The bottom line is that in the US we do not have much of a safety net when it comes to our economic well-being. Even financially responsible folks are often one small incident away from financial ruin. The risk is considerably mitigated when you have two professionals working together, or when the single parent is on a career track.
Choosing to remain out of the work force to focus on your children sounds noble – but you are doing your family a disservice and leaving everyone more vulnerable to disaster. Additionally, many researchers attribute a significant portion of the wage gap to this choice to stay at home. Women who do this take a hit economically for the rest of their lives. Economically speaking they never catch up to the women who do not take time out of work.
Ladies – Go to school if that option is available. If it isn’t, work your way into ever increasing levels of responsibility within an industry of your choice. Choose work that has high income potential and growth opportunities. Do not become complacent and passively live your days depending on ‘luck’ with your significant other.
Also – if you truly need to stay at home, consider some alternatives. Start your own business working from home. Learn web design, computer programming and other such high paying jobs that allow you to work from anywhere on your own hours. Invest in your career at all times even if you do it from home. Be creative!
The options are out there – think outside of the box – but ALWAYS invest in
yourself. That is the best way to also invest in your family and your children.
If you’d like to read more about financial independence a quick search on Google will provide many places to start. There are many great blogs available on the subject, a couple I have bookmarked are Money Wise Women and Penelope Trunk .
*Note: I am very lazy with citations – but the above information was gathered together from the following: