For women attempting to strike a balance between career and family, one thing is clear: This isn’t your mama’s workplace. Today’s options range from traditional, full-time jobs, to flex work gigs from the comfort of your home, to starting your own business for the price of an internet domain.
What does this all mean? There is more power in the hands of workers than ever before.
This was demonstrated by the 2017 State of the American Workplace Report, where 51% of the nearly 200,000 American workers surveyed said they are “searching for new jobs or watching for openings.” Women, especially, are no longer content to go along with the status quo as we call for gender equality, parental benefits and flexibility.
Finally, it seems employers are starting to listen.
Here is how leaders believe work culture will change for women—and moms in particular—in 2018:
Grassroots movements will pay off with better parental benefits
Workplace improvements for women and mothers in 2018 will be led by employers, regional government and startup innovations rather than through the national policy changes many were hoping for.
We can expect CEOs to advocate for more flexible, inclusive work environments, especially as they struggle to attract and retain top talent in the tightened job market.
Other bright spots in the new year will be the roll-out of New York’s 8-week paid family leave plan and the power of startup innovations like Maven, HopSkipDrive, Milk Stork and Mom Project, which will enable working parents to more seamlessly manage the demands of work and family.
—Allison Robinson, CEO & Founder of The Mom Project
Better protections against sexual harassment—and more empowerment
I think that we’ll continue to see sexual harassment headlines in 2018 as I believe #MeToo is truly a long overdue movement. I believe companies will respond by sharing—and improving—their sexual harassment policies and adopt more employee training in this area.
I also believe that companies will continue to expand their flexible work arrangements and improve parental leave policies in 2018, both of which are continuations of multi-year trends. At Fairygodboss, we believe that every woman has the power to use her voice to improve the workplace and we think that the national attention on women in the workplace creates strength in numbers, which will embolden more women to speak up about injustices they see happening.
All of this makes me sanguine that we will see further progress in the areas of equal pay and greater numbers of women being promoted into leadership positions in 2018.
—Georgene Huang, CEO & Co-founder of Fairygodboss
More partnerships and purpose
Ever since I read about the ambition collision in The Cut, I’m hyper-aware of how much pressure we as women place on ourselves. I think 2018 is going to be the year of us holding each other (and our companies) accountable in a certain way—more women’s marches, more speaking out, less impostor syndrome, more asking for what we deserve—but also the year of women teaching the world what forgiveness means.
We need to remember that work doesn’t always look the way we intended and that work/life balance doesn’t either. I think we’re going to move increasingly toward embracing the ambiguous without losing sight of each other. It’s going to be the year of the woman ally.
—Lauren McGoodwin, CEO & Founder of Career Contessa
Women moving on up
2017 is a year that will go down forever in American history, we’re sure of it. We don’t know a single woman who isn’t re-evaluating how she’s spending her time in 2018. Whether it’s leaving a company that’s misaligned with her core values, or one that doesn’t provide her the flexibility she needs to live her best life—women will be making moves next year.
—Annie Dean, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Werk
It seems we’ll look back on 2017 as the year many women in workplaces found their voices. Now, let’s aim to look back on 2018 as the year we used them to change the world for the better.
We’ve got this.