Let’s be honest: There’s been a lot of disgusting discourse about women in the news. Rather than amplify it, I thought about the impact women have had on the workforce (I can’t believe I’m having this conversation in 2022).
What’s often missing from the conversation is how programs — initially designed to help women — help men and everyone else.
- Paid Maternity Leave has a tendency to turn into Paid Family Leave. This happens in the private sector as well as the public sphere. New York’s groundbreaking program has expanded to include bonding time for each partner.
- Rights won by women have been expanded to include others. This was on display in the landmark Bostock v. Clayton County. The Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex was found to extend to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Amenities for women benefit everyone. Blue light emergency phones were conceived as response to sexual assault, but they benefit everyone.
At JHA, we are women — run-by and owned-by. We’ve got number crunchers, organization Queens, and lifestyle concierges (who do literally everything). I’ve had feedback from people who noted the “democratic” nature with which I lead my company. I like to think that working here is a respite from the pressure cooker gigs out there.
That said, no one here is immune from criticism. Whether they know it or not, people will view a woman boss as a potential pushover, and it’s important to demonstrate that we’re not. I try not to humiliate people, but I will have a conversation in a normal tone of voice.
Most importantly, I’ve found that once employees know I pay attention to them, they get invested in this place. That’s the outcome that I’m going for. I don’t know how other companies run every little thing, but I can see a lot of unhappy office workers around me in life. It leads me to believe that, at least in the short term, women-run companies are the places where anything can happen.