Contemplating “Having it All”


Yesterday marked the first full day at the Republican National Convention (RNC) for the SHRM team and it certainly didn't disappoint!  For me, the highlight of the day was the Women2Women Conversations Tour hosted by one of SHRM's strategic partners, the Republican Main Street Partnership.  The Women2Women conversation brought together women in the Cleveland area and from across the country to hear from distinguished female elected officials, including Representatives Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Ohio's Lt. Governor Mary Taylor.

Each of these women took turns outlining their path to public office, noting the critical voice women bring to policy development, and the need to encourage more women to pursue public service.  Then the conversation turned to a range of policy issues including mental health, tax reform, the skills gap and other workplace issues.  

As the mother of two girls, I took particular note when one of the panelists said "I tell my two girls that the sky is the limit and they can have it all, but maybe not all at once."  This immediately had me asking myself "do I agree with that perspective?"  

Without rehashing the well-documented arguments on both sides of the "women can't have it all" debate, my answer to myself was "kind of" (perfect political answer, right?!).  And the reason for the "kind of" is that I believe some women, including myself, are closer to at least feeling like we have "it all" because of access to workplace flexibility options that support our dual roles as a mom and a career professional.  

It's no wonder that more than 85 percent of employees say that flexibility is important to them in their next job.  As a result, a growing number of employers are offering flexible work arrangements and paid leave options to provide employees with flexibility when it comes to how, when and where work gets done.  

Innovative workflex strategies help organizations with recruitment and retention and support the diversity of the modern workforce -- that's a win-win for both employees and employers.  But more can be done.  Public policy could further incentivize more employers to voluntarily offer workplace flexibility to even more employees, as envisioned in SHRM's Principles for a 21st Century Workplace

Events like the Women2Women Conversation here at the RNC provide an ideal opportunity for SHRM to highlight our public policy priorities to key stakeholders. With continued dialogue, these principles can lead to legislative solutions that support more workflex opportunities for the workplace.


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