Introducing the Panelists: Workplace Flexibility
An integral part of the opt out discussion involves the "regular"
"standard" work day, whether that means 9-5 or 8-8 plus checking your
Blackberry at least twice an hour until you fall asleep. Another
critical aspect of the discussion involves the "standard" career path
(a continuous stint at one or several companies, with regular upward
advancement and increasing responsibility and compensation) versus one
that requires off ramps and on ramps (shorthand for
the degree to which it is possible for professionals, especially female
professionals, to leave the workplace entirely for a period of time,
often several years, and then jump back in and reintegrate themselves
into a full-time position with the possibility of advancement).
The concept of
workplace flexibility has sprung up in recent decades, and in theory
allows employees to structure their working time outside of this
"standard" frame. It can mean working part-time, shifting the work day,
telecommuting, changing responsibilities, or other ad hoc or
personalized tweaks that change the meaning of "work day" and "at
work." Expanding the discussion, we will address whether it is
possible for women to fully reintegrate into the workforce after an
absence, whether it should be possible, and how this might be accomplished.
In the Workplace Flexibility panel, we will discuss whether and
how employers and institutions can reshape how work is accomplished and what careers can look like in
order to accommodate the multi-faceted realities of their employees'
- Leslie Bennetts is a journalist and the author of The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?, a controversial and ground-breaking examination of women's life choices that was named one of the best books of 2007 by The Washington Post. She is also a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Portfolio. Ms. Bennets spent more than a decade writing for The New York Times, and has also written for a number of other publications, including Town & Country, Parenting Magazine, and The Nation.
- Claudia Goldin is a professor of economics at Harvard University and director of the NBER's Development of the American Economy program. Her research is in the general area of American economic history. She is an author of several books, one of which is Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women. Ms. Goldin also writes and researches gender issues that include the career and family tradeoffs made by college-educated women and family and career transitions for men and women who have graduated from elite educational institutions.
- Michael Teter is a supervising attorney and clinical fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. As part of his clinical duties, he represents Workplace Flexibility 2010, a multi-year research, outreach, and consensus-building enterprise focused on developing a national policy on workplace flexibility that fits the needs of employers and employees. WF2010 is the lead policy component of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's National Initiative on Workplace Flexibility.
We are lucky to be joined by Lynn Neuner as a moderator of this
panel. Ms. Neuner is a litigation partner at Simpson Thacher &
Bartlett LLP in New York City. She is a 1992 graduate of Yale Law
School. The American Lawyer named Ms. Neuner one of the nation's top
litigation "rising stars" in its January 2007 issue: "The Young
Litigators Fab Fifty". She is also named in the 2008 issue of the New York Super Lawyers – Metro Edition.
panel can be a meaningful discussion of how women attorneys shape their
work-lives, but will only come to life with your participation. To
begin the discussion,
- What are your work hours? How many days a week do you work
outside the home? From home? What other scheduled activities create the
"frame" for your days, e.g., caretaking responsibilities, spiritual
observances, or classes or workshops to further some aspect of your
career? What do you wish your work hours were? Would it require working fewer hours, or working different hours (or both?)?
you left the work force, and if so, did you ever return to your former
company? To your former industry? To any full time work?
To learn more, check out some links that I have found useful and informative: