Sometimes having a seat at the table can be a clash of cultures for working women who are raising families. It could mean having to make choices in life, choices between having power at work, power at home or no power. In my case, the choice was to have it all.
As the number of women in newsrooms was rising in the 1970s – 1990s, as newsroom managers we were feeling intense pressure about work-life balance. Many women working in newsrooms saw the need to prove that we were cut from the same cloth as men who rarely, it seemed, had a tinge of guilt about not seeing their families news day after news day, especially when big stories were breaking. At USA Today, according to stories I heard first hand from colleagues at the newspaper when I started working there, women were hired, being promoted and valued.
Even in 1982, USA Today’s launch year, there was little difference between the schedules kept by the hard-working men and the hard-working women who were managers and editors. Not that there should be much difference, but I heard from some men that they ultimately wished they had cut back on their hours instead of being the overworked and overwhelmed role models for women.
Over time I have heard women express angst about spending time with their babies, but I don’t think males in the newsroom would have recognized at the time that they should have stepped away from work to take part in raising their own children. It would take years for them to recognize their family shortfalls, and the impact their drive may have had on other women in the workplace.
Next: Losing ground with diversity