I recently shared an article with the members of the Women’s Business Network of SE MA. In this article, “‘Leaning In’ Isn’t the Answer”, published by the Business Insider, Sabrina Parsons of Palo Alto Software explains that she is not an average CEO. On occasion, she brings her 3 kids with her to work and encourages her employees to do the same.
In her article, Ms. Parsons opines about the much talked-about book by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” . Although she agrees with Sandberg’s opinion that we need to continue to fight the leadership role gender gap in corporate America, she does not necessarily agree with the contention that women need to play into ‘traditional’ workplace norms – to do all that it takes to move ahead and succeed, often at the expense of their personal lives.
Ms. Parsons acknowledges all of the efforts and gains by the feminist movement of the 70s and 80’s. She points out, however, that what they worked so hard for may have molded norms that forced women to behave like men in that setting. Often, they were faced with impossible circumstances of working incredibly long hours, give everything they had, often to the detriment of their personal lives. She states, “I think that driven women always go beyond the call of duty, and certainly working moms know how to work as hard as anyone.” She goes on to make the point that what needs to change is how and when women work.
Here is the part that really resonated with me – and gives me hope that the future for my daughters in the workplace will, hopefully, be more conducive to a full-life experience than when I started in my career. Ms. Parsons has made it a priority at her company to encourage her employees to do what they may need in order to succeed at work while raising their family. Children are welcome in the workplace. Parents are allowed to leave to take their kids to the doctor if necessary. Dads may need to work from home. Others may need to have freedom to take care of aging parents. The employees at Palo Alto Software are happier and more productive because of this culture.
I don’t know…..It just seems so very HUMAN. This is good stuff.