Women from the so-called post-feminist era were brought up believing that we can become anyone we want to be. The doors that were closed for our parents have been opened for us and there is a menu of options. And we women want everything on the menu.
As women we have the freedom to choose if we work full-time or part time, have children or not, get married or stay single. But what if we want to pick from multiple items on the above list? For example, let’s single out women who have selected to pursue a demanding career and have children.
In the "man’s world" of past generations this would have been extremely difficult for a multitude of reasons. However, society continues to evolve and as of 2012 women made up 47% of the U.S. labor force and the United Stated Department of Labor projects that by 2020 women’s labor force participation will be 57%. And I suspect that many of these women will want to select more than just one thing from the menu.
Female leaders of our generation that sit in places of power, such as Clinton, Pelosi and Shriver have helped pave the way for women to have a career and a family, thus the popular buzz phrase of "having it all." However, it used to be a staggered path for women and it was uncommon to have a career and children at the same time. For example, many successful career women who didn’t enter the club of "motherhood" until they were fifty years old! The demands of sixty or seventy hour work weeks, travel schedules, conferences, and rigid employers who operated under the ways of "Mad Men" didn’t usually allow for women to have "it all."
Specifically the advertising industry still has a long way to go as most women fill-up the lower-ranks, but there are not many women in top-level positions. It wasn’t very long ago; the 1960’s that Mary Wells Lawrence became the first woman president of an advertising agency. Still to this day, females make up as little as 3% of creative directors and as of last year only Deutsch has two female CEOs. Sheryl Sandberg’s popular book "Lean In" continues to elevate female empowerment and champion for women to claim their place at the corporate table.
As the feminist movement continues to evolve into women’s liberation and create opportunities not limited by gender I am proud to work at a forward-looking company. Phelps has been ahead of its time; starting with the company mission "To do great work for deserving clients, in a healthy working environment to realize our clients’ goals and our potentials." It’s this emphasis and commitment to support associates (both men and women) to reach both personal and professional potentials that begin to set this amazing agency apart from the crowd.
Working at Phelps has allowed me to simultaneously have children while working full-time, thus fulfilling my desire to be both a career woman and mother. Specifically, this environment supports flex-scheduling, telecommuting, and supportive associates that care about work-life balance. Among the Team Leaders (Directors) at Phelps, 70% are women, which is much higher than the industry average. Through the agency progressive approach, training, cultivation and equal opportunities we’re bound to see a few movers and shakers of the next advertising agency generation come from Phelps.
From a woman determined to have it all.
Rachel Svoboda - Team Leader