HomeLearning CenterFlexible Work Is a Win for Women

Flexible Work Is a Win for Women

This article was originally published by Erin Grau for Fortune

For the first 15 years of my career, I commuted into an office every day. This meant that by the time I had children, my workplace contributions were invisible to them. All they noticed was my absence, not my leadership skills at work. I missed a lot, too: Some days I left the house before they woke up to make it to my first meeting, or walked in the door too late to hear the highs and lows of their days.

Now that I take fundraising, hiring, and sales calls from home a few days each week while my daughters do homework or play in the next room, they have exposure to the reality of my work. I hope the lessons they are learning about work and its place in a full life will have a positive impact on them in the years to come. 

As the return-to-office movement gained steam over the past few months, bosses don’t understand why people aren’t returning to the office. They’re voicing concerns over productivity, creativity, culture, advancement, and mentoring–and even asserting that the remote and hybrid work experiment of the past few years has reinforced the critical importance of sitting in an office. Wall Street executive Steven Rattner questioned the effectiveness of remote work, relying on statements from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon to further his argument. More recently, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman called remote work “one of the tech industry’s work mistakes.”

It’s probably not a surprise that employees don’t feel similarly–new research shows that employees still aren’t permitted to work remotely as much as they’d like. And it is hardly a coincidence that the demographic which benefited most from the old system has also expressed the most anxiety about changing it. But we shouldn’t confuse the feelings of powerful men with facts.

Despite all of the efforts of the feminist movement that have spanned generations, the reality is that it still largely falls on women to challenge gender inequities in society. Women are still trying to do it all, despite CEOs preserving work arrangements that are outdated and counterproductive when it comes to modern families and changing gender roles. By reimagining when, where, and even how we work, we can make meaningful progress toward gender equality and address the dramatic underrepresentation of women and people of all underrepresented genders in our companies, particularly at the most senior levels. 

Back to News