Recently, a female colleague said that she believes that I had achieved my professional position because I am an attractive woman and work for male administrators. The (not-so-subtle) implication of this statement was that, as an attractive woman, I was given opportunities not afforded to others who she believes are better qualified than I am.
To be quite honest, I was shocked at this accusation. I would never classify myself as an attractive woman. I would describe myself as a runner, athletic, a feminist, an educator, a wife, a sister, a mother, an animal lover, and a laundry list of other adjectives…but never would I label myself as “attractive.” The idea of of using my appearance in an attempt to get ahead is ridiculous to me. I am the person running out the house at the last minute with a dryer sheet stuck to the arm of her blouse. I am so frugal that I only shop at second-hand clothing shops and that one red tag clearance rack at the back corner of the store. My husband is far more fashion forward than I am. In fact, he does all the ironing in our household as my skill level is not up to his standards, which is fine by me. I spray that magic wrinkle spray on myself and call it good enough. Most of my time outside of work is spent in running shoes and workout clothing. My beauty “routine” consists of my daughter’s baby oil, eczema cream, and prescription acne ointment from a dermatologist (yes, in my mid-30’s I am plagued by both acne and wrinkles). Those are certainly not the features that one would normally associate with “attractive.” Continue reading Feminism and the Alpha Female
I know- you’re reading this title and saying, isn’t this topic old and tired? What more can we say about work/life balance that hasn’t already been said? Haven’t we been told time and time again that balance is bunk? I know, I know. However, a variety of experiences I’ve had over the past few months have sparked my interest in revisiting this topic. Humor me. Here goes…
I recently attended a wonderful on-campus session focused on women in leadership. Everyone on campus was invited to attend a lunch and subsequent panel session, which included women who held or had held various leadership positions in higher education. One panelist was a president emerita; another, a retired assistant vice president for student affairs; two were chief academic affairs officers; and a fifth was a vice chancellor of our state system. As we asked the panel various questions, the inevitable questions came up about work/life balance. How do you manage it all? After the question was asked, the panel grew uncharacteristically silent and looked a bit sheepish. “Not very well,” admitted the former AVPSA, a rumored workaholic. The retired president offered up something about a seesaw- sometimes career is up and sometimes personal life is up, depending on the period of life or time of year. Okay, fair enough. The others sort of hemmed and hawed. What became clear from this panel of very successful women is that balance is hard to achieve and some women (and men) eschew balance in order to achieve success. It didn’t leave me feeling optimistic.
Continue reading Work/Life Balance: Revisited
by: Jennifer R. Keup
The week of Thanksgiving, I sat in my regular yoga studio listening to my instructor begin the class with a statement of intentions for our 90 minutes together. Much to my surprise she shared the following: “Thanksgiving is the time when we might expect to engage in a practice with the intention of ‘gratitude.’ While I certainly support the idea and practice of gratitude, I would rather spend our time on the intention of setting appropriate boundaries. By saying ‘no’ to family members, to food, to holiday obligations, or to other things, we are often saying ‘yes’ to ourselves in the healthiest of ways.”
Continue reading The Gift of Saying “No” to Others and “Yes” to Yourself
by: Jodi Koslow Martin
An alternate title for this entry is ” What’s Taking So Flipping Long?” Let me explain.
In 2012, Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote an article in The Atlantic titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” This article sparked a great deal of debate and dialogue among professional women and was certainly a point of discussion for the founding authors of this blog. Recently, Ms. Slaughter’s spouse, Andrew Moravcsik, added his own entry into the same periodical, which was titled “Why I Put My Wife’s Career First.” As you can guess from the title, it was a personal reflection of the choices that the two-career couple made with respect to the ever elusive balancing act of raising kids and having a meaningful careers.
As you can imagine, this article elicited some strong responses from the women in our group, especially from me. My reaction was this…of course there’s a lead parent! Sometimes, there’s even only one parent. We’ve all known this. It seems as if it’s taking a really long time to finally realize it’s OK if it’s a male lead parent. Like a really long time. And, apparently, it takes a Princeton professor to say, “It’s okay, guys, you’re going to have to give up some things but this, this bond with the kids, ya’ know, you should really try it out.”
Continue reading Who’s Lucky: Choices about Primary Parenting
by: Shelly N. Laurenzo
Amidst the morning hustle of getting ready for work and a toddler ready for preschool I hear a light bing come from my cell phone. Thinking it might be a traffic alert, dreaded with my 35-mile commute, I hesitantly picked up my phone and instead saw a calendar alert for a director’s group meeting the next day. Director’s group? Why would I be getting a calendar invite to director’s group? And then I remembered, I’m now a member of director’s group. A few days prior I was promoted in the office and now held a seat in at the table of my office’s leadership team. As soon as my decaffeinated brain processed this information my second thought was, I’m not ready for this. Clearly this is a mistake. I’m an imposter.
Continue reading Why Not Me? Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
by: Jennifer R. Keup
This blog has been a haven for important discussions about personal, political, and professional issues related to women, leadership, and feminism. I am incredibly proud to be a small voice in the chorus here and love the passionate posts and lively comments that follow. So, I am going to ask everyone’s indulgence as I take a different direction with this post as more of a “rant” on the daily irritants that I experience as a feminist. Because, truth be told, we are all faced every day with the regular small (and not-so-small) reminders of how gendered our world is and how far we still have to go to achieve equity among all genders. So, without further ado, here are five of my “feminist pet peeves.” Continue reading Feminist Pet Peeves-Part I