Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What I Didn't Learn At BlogHer

So of course the very year I decide to take an "off" BlogHer year, they go and create a panel about the very subject that I blog about. Figures.

I am so very bummed to have missed the "Screw Work/Life Balance -- We Need Work/Life Policy" panel. It was spearheaded by the lovely and talented Morra Aarons Mele who I happen to know and work with IRL and Stephanie Wilchfort, aka The Mama Bee. But fortunately, as it generally goes at blogging conferences, there are no shortage of pre-event posts, live-blog replays, post-event perspectives and even session Twitter streams to catch you up. After I finished all my reading, I felt like I had been there!

I was so excited about some of the things that were discussed in this session --a few things particularly resonated with me. 1) We need to focus not so much on work flexibility as we do on work-life balance. Flexible working arrangements may be part of the solution, but that often addresses where and when you work, but not necessarily how much you work. Extreme work environments are killing our families and our sense of equilibrium and we need to set better boundaries. 2) Work-life balance isn't just a mom or women's issue. It's a human issue. Men need balance as much as women do, particularly if they are going to be better partners in helping balance the load at home. But work-life balance is an issue for everyone -- even those that don't have kids. Everyone has a life. We need to reframe this debate 3) Policy change alone can't be the solution. It's a "holy trinity of corporate, legislative and individual action."

And while there was alot of talk about how we need to use our voices -- our blogs and tweets -- as channels of change, one thing has been on my mind lately. Women and moms are such coveted markets for politicians and corporations alike. Politicians create entire initiatives to court the women's vote. Corporations spend millions of dollars to compete for women's buying power and also for quality workforces. How can we use that political and consumer capital to help advance this issue? Maybe someone needs to create an Angie's list for work-life balance -- a review site for politicians and companies where people can give the real scoop on corporate work-life policies and politician track records on these issues. We moms can then use that intel to decide what to buy, where to work and who to vote for. That might get some change real quick. Anyone got some spare time on their hands?

In any case, I am very much looking forward to seeing where this conversation (movement? evolution? revolution?) leads and to being a part of it.

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