research on women

ImagesThere has been a slew of research done on women these days from universities looking at how women engage in information vs men, how many women entrepreneurs are getting funded vs their male counterparts, the impact women make on businesses when they are involved at senior levels, etc.  I wish I could keep up on all the papers being written these days. 

We seem to be entering an era that is redefining feminism.  Women have always had options when it comes to the career world.  They can choose to stay in the game 100%, they can opt out and stay home for a time with their kids, they can stay in 50% or they can shift their focus from an every day job to perhaps part-time volunteerism.  Yet regardless of which road women take, we are the consumers of the majority of products in the household and are generally responsible for managing the finances of our homes. 

Dailyworth puts out three newsletters that are geared directly to women running their own finances.  The feedback from our readers have been empowering to the team.   I had lunch with someone this week who is trying to tap into why women tend to take a back seat when it comes to manging their finances with a financial adviser.  Is it because they don't care or is it because they don't feel comfortable doing it or is because it makes them scared that they might make a bad decision, would women prefer to work with women advisers vs men.  I am not sure what the answer is but we are going to drill down and find out. 

Here is an answer I would like that I never had understood.  Research says that men and women enter most fields after college in equal proportions.  At one point, basically around the time that women hit their early 30's they start to check out.  That is when many large corporations particularly finance, banking, law firms, start to look completely male driven at the top.  This is an issue that companies are very aware of and understand that this is something that needs to be resolved.  How can those companies attract women who are entering the workforce want to take jobs with companies that can't retain women once they hit a certain age.

Yet there is something I don't understand and never will.  When I was home with my kids living in the suburbs there were plenty of smart women who were part of the group that checked out of companies even though they had significant jobs and clout.  They did not embrace taking care of their families finances but almost signed up to be full time mothers that had stopped using their intelligence.  A plumber or electrician would come to their homes and they would literally say, please wait here while I call my husband.  This happened several times.  I found it fascinating.  These women ran organizations where they have large staffs and were responsible for many people but at home they became almost brain dead.  Why?  These are women with college degrees.  What happened when they shifted their focus to the home?  How come they took a back seat instead of a new role? 

We need to figure out how to keep women engaged who choose to opt out for a few years to stay home with the kids.   That is where I want to see research get done.