Episode 98: Leaning Back

The majority of women want to capitalize on their educations, want to do something meaningful and interesting and lucrative, but they’re not willing to sell their soul for their professional life.
— Kathryn Sollmann
Photo by Huntstock/DisabilityImages / Getty Images
Photo by Huntstock/DisabilityImages / Getty Images
Kathryn Sollmann

Kathryn Sollmann

A lot of women dream of scaling back their careers after they have kids, even if it's just for a while. Some quit altogether and stay out of the workforce for years.

These days the conversation around women and work revolves around how to get to the top. But my guest says much of it is missing the point: most women still have no desire to attain those heights. 

In this episode I talk to Kathryn Sollmann of 9 Lives for Women about the pros and cons of dialing back your work life. Kathryn says one vital point often gets left out of the 'leaning out' discussions: the importance of long-term financial security. 

You can also read a transcript of the show.

Further reading: Here's that Atlantic series on women's ambitions that I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast. 

I'd love to hear from people about whether you've scaled back your career in some way over the years. Did you ask for flexibility and did it work? Did you leave to start a business you could manage around family life? 

Episode 97: Women's Work

Even in these female-dominated occupations men are still over represented in leadership. And it’s even more glaring in those kinds of environments because the staff is largely female.
— Marianne Cooper

We talk a lot on the show about being a woman in a man's (work) world. But lots of women are in female-dominated fields, and that can bring its own challenges. Meanwhile your boss is still likely to be a man.

Tune in to hear from listeners in two majority-women fields - Lucie Goulet and Kailah Carden - and from sociologist Marianne Cooper.

You can also read a transcript of the show.

Episode 96: Burnout

What happens with my female clients is that they will be on the edge of burnout and feel like they can’t do anything about it because it’s self-indulgent.
— Dana Campbell
Photo by PeopleImages/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by PeopleImages/iStock / Getty Images
I have gotten much more ruthless about proactively avoiding getting to burnout rather than dealing with it once I notice it’s happening. So I schedule my workouts in, I make sure I see people I care about a certain number of times a week .
— Stacy-Marie Ishmael

stacy-marie ishmael

Dana campbell

Anyone can burn out at work, but women seem to be doing it faster and younger than men. In this show we take a closer look at what leads to burnout and how to prevent it in the first place. My guests are career and burnout coach Dana Campbell and journalist and former BuzzFeed News editor Stacy-Marie Ishmael.

You can also read a transcript of the show.

Episode 95: Better in Scandinavia

The number of divorces has gone a little bit down in Norway – because if you take care of your family it is better for all the parts. I think it’s better for both men and women.
— Katrine Gjaerum, Norway
Photo by crispypictures/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by crispypictures/iStock / Getty Images
Women are working really hard and full time, and then they’re trying to be the perfect mother and have the perfect home. There’s a lot of pressure here to have very tidy, very stylishly decorated homes, and all of that takes energy.
— Bronwyn Griffith, Sweden
When you deviate just a little bit from gender roles and gendered behavior...it triggers anxiety and criticism. So you tend to choose the path of least resistance.
— Lynn Roseberry, Denmark

Lynn Roseberry

The Nordic countries have a reputation for equality and excellent work/life balance. American women look enviously at these nations as they scrape together a short maternity leave or finish another 10-hour day.

But here's the paradox: there are just as few women in powerful roles in Scandinavia as there are in the US. 

In this show I set out to discover more about life for professional women in the Nordic countries. We have representatives from three of them - Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. 

You can also read a transcript of the show

Episode 94: Class and Career

This will sound funny but I feel like I wouldn’t advise it, this path that I was on. You have moments of pleasure you have to enjoy and appreciate, but it’s grueling.
— Denise McKenzie

Denise McKenzie

In this show we look at how class can play out at work. Each of my guests works in a professional setting - Julie O'Heir in academia, Denise McKenzie in law. But both grew up in blue-collar households, and each has had trouble navigating the white-collar workplace and the attitudes of some of its workforce. When you're a black female working in a majority-white office, the issues multiply. 

I also talk to Daniel Laurison, a sociology professor at Swarthmore. He co-authored a study on the 'class ceiling' in Britain. It showed that on average, people in high-status professions who began life in a working-class household earn less than their more privileged peers.

You can also read a transcript of the show

Episode 93: Women in Politics (re-release)

It’s a very fine line...between how people want to agitate for women’s rights and women’s advancement and how much there can still be a backlash against those types of issues.
— Megan Murphy
You have more resources within you than you think...try to believe that you can actually make a difference, that your voice counts.
— Madeleine Kunin

Madeleine Kunin (photo by Paul Boissvert)

This is a re-release of a show called Politics is Power, which I originally produced in March 2015. Given the impending US election, now seemed a good time to roll it out again. I think often of former Vermont governor Madeleine Kunin's wise words during our interview. Talking to her made me want to speak to many more women in their 80s or 90s. 

Since I put this show together Britain has gained a female prime minister, and America might be about to elect a woman as president. But there are still many issues female politicians face that men do not. This show looks at some of them, and provides a little inspiration to anyone thinking of entering politics. 

You can read a transcript of the show here, under the original episode.