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Women of FHSS News and Events


Thank you for joining us during our All-Star March Webinar event. Just in case you missed it:


Featured News

Mother of four earns graduate degree, hopes to teach sociology

A recent University Communications article highlights one of our newest Sociology and Spanish graduates, Jordan Coburn.

"All within the past five years, Jordan Coburn graduated with a double major in sociology and Spanish, worked as an English tutor, had four children and earned her graduate degree in sociology.

Despite all she had going on, Coburn found that getting involved, finding a community and interacting with and learning from mentors have only enriched her experience as a master’s student studying sociology at BYU."

Is there a right age for professional women?

Reporter, Bonnie Marcus of Forbes writes: "Emma Forster, a 32-year-old marketer, makes a poignant observation about her career. “I feel like as a woman it’s always either that you’re too young or too old. Maybe there’s one day in my life where I’ll be just the right age for something.”

This article discusses what women face, including "lookism," ageism, and what happens when women opt-out of the workforce to undertake care-giving responsibilities before entering (or re-entering) the workforce. While this article is calling for corporations and employers to evaluate hiring practices and taking gender pay inequity seriously, there are some deep-rooted realities that women entering the workforce face. To be aware is to be educated, and to be educated is to be powerful.

I feel guilty about being a stay-at-home parent

Remember, Women of FHSS supports ALL choices of the women we serve, including women who choose to stay at home with their families.

Kristin Wong, reporter for Forge said, "’re not the first person to have some guilt about leaving the workforce after years of employment, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for feeling this way. We get used to measuring our contributions in terms of dollars, and it can be hard to break that conditioning, especially if you’ve never had to depend on anyone else financially. Perhaps this is an opportunity to redefine your value beyond money and work.

Besides, the reality of being a parent, especially a mother, is that no matter what choice you make — stay at home to take care of the kids, work full time, work part time, work from home, hire a nanny, send the kids to daycare — someone is going to make you feel bad about it. In a way, that can be liberating: You’re never going to please everyone, so make the decision that works best for your family, and don’t worry about anyone else’s judgment."

Leaving work for parenting is my progressive act of rebellion

Author Hope Hodge Seck writes a compelling article about the decisions that motivated her choice to leave work for parenting, describes the partnership decision in this choice, insights into how "role swapping" worked for their family for a time, and provides insight into how "achiever" personalities can find productivity and fulfillment in child-rearing.

"For more than a year, I worked warily, convinced Ben would find stay-at-home fatherhood too lonely, mundane or emasculating, and beg for the chance to go back to work. But instead, he was a sensational full-time father — even-keeled and patient, attentive and available."

"The idea that I’d make a clean break with the professional working world and a career I love right at its satisfying midpoint seems at best like poor planning, and at worst like self-sabotage. But stepping off without a designated landing point is the intent. I’m creating a space, and resolving, at least for a season, to leave it unfilled."

Essential career search guide for moms

The Mom Project is dedicated to helping women remain active in the workforce in every stage of their journey. According to their website, they work with employers who are committed to designing and supporting a better workplace.

This article highlights a career search quick start, setting career goals, job application material best practices, finding family-friendly employers, and more. The article discusses how you can "own your career pause," and how to highlight accomplishments.

"Moms are good for business. Moms in the workplace drive greater productivity, more collaboration and more retention."

The Impact of COVID-19 on Utah Women and Work: Childcare and Homeschooling

The Utah Women & Leadership Project recently released a brief discussing how the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women.

"This brief is the third in a series of related reports. This research and policy brief highlights the results of the survey related to the following:
  1. The emotional impact of COVID-19,
  2. Household and caregiving concerns,
  3. Childcare and online schooling concerns,
  4. Impact of the presence of a partner in the home and other demographics, and
  5. Workplace culture and concerns."

Returnships: Helping women dive back into work

Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson and her team have created a Returnship program to help women dive back into work! Check this out and please share with anyone who might be a good fit.

"Returnships are internships for adults looking to re-enter the workforce after an extended absence. They are designed as a back-to-work program that provides the experience, training, skills, and mentoring that an individual needs to return to the workforce without starting from the bottom of the career ladder."

From War Zone to Classroom

BYU Magazine article reporter Madeline A. Buhman writes about Leslie Hinchcliff Edwards, an alumna of BYU who "Work[ed] for Saudi TV and radio and as an on-site coordinator of NBC’s war desk during that conflict, [where] she kept track of journalists and of U.S. troop movements.

In 2013 Edwards won Utah’s prestigious Golden Apple Award. Today she teaches for a third-grade Gifted and Talented program in Salt Lake City. From arranging visits with astronauts to writing grants for her school to improve geographical and international learning, Edwards has lifted her students with her energy and experience. Like her decision to return to the site of an impending war, Edwards stands by her unconventional career change, which, like her other endeavors, has been an unconventional success."

Homework: Mothers share how they apply at home what they learned at BYU

BYU Magazine Reporter, Whitney Singley Archibald reports on how "thousands of BYU alumni mothers apply at home the knowledge they obtained at BYU—from managing family finances and preparing nutritious meals to teaching music lessons and engineering winning Pinewood Derby cars. Along with these practical skills come less tangible benefits of their educations, like cultivating a family culture of curiosity and passion for knowledge.

The impact of a mother’s higher education on her family is not just anecdotal. According to Jenet Jacob Erickson (BS ’97), an assistant professor in BYU’s School of Family Life, a mother’s higher education has been shown to strengthen her “maternal sensitivity”—the way a mother responds to and influences a child’s growth."

Help all women — including queer members — to feel they belong in Relief Society, LDS attendees told at BYU conference

Salt Lake Tribune reporter, Peggy Fletcher Stack reports on a message delivered from the General Relief Society on how every woman in the church deserves to feel welcomed and that they belong. The article states,"...there is a need for “improvement,” Bingham said. “Studies have shown that the number one reason people leave religion is that they feel judged or unwelcome. That is cited more often than doctrinal disagreement or lack of belief.”

Stack reports that Sister Sharon Eubank discussed a story of her LDS queer friend (Liv), stating, "For nearly 20 years, she thought she was “broken” because of her attractions, but now she knows she is loved by God and Jesus Christ just as she is, Liv said. “My eternal identity is not something anyone can take away from me.”

The Relief Society leadership trio also discussed good and bad things to say in sensitive moments such as addressing childless couples, singles and divorced members, or missionaries who return early from their missions.

Rethink what you "know" about high-achieving women

A survey of Harvard Business School graduates sheds new light on what happens to women - and men - after business school.

HBR authors, Robin J. Ely, Pamela Stone, and Colleen Ammerman report:

"As one alumna in her mid-thirties noted, a key factor is still “deep-rooted attitudes that a woman should be the primary caregiver, so it is ‘understood’ that her career may have to take a backseat for a while as similar male colleagues move ahead at a more rapid pace.

But here’s the kicker: It simply isn’t true that a large proportion of HBS alumnae have “opted out” to care for children.

Our survey data and other research suggest that when high-achieving, highly educated professional women leave their jobs after becoming mothers, only a small number do so because they prefer to devote themselves exclusively to motherhood; the vast majority leave reluctantly and as a last resort, because they find themselves in unfulfilling roles with dim prospects for advancement."

The child care single story is not helping Utah

Contributing writer to the Deseret News, Susan Madsen of the Utah Women and Leadership Project discusses how we are only considering one single narrative to talk about some of the larger issues of dual-career families and mothers who work. She said, "When we assume the solution to child care issues is that “the wife and mother should just stay home,” we reveal the belief in a single story that is not a reality for many families, no matter how much we want it to be. The truth is much more complex."

"59% of mothers with children under age 6, 50% of mothers with both children under 6 and between 6 and 17, and 73% of mothers with children between 6 and 17 are in the labor force. And in many of these households, “all available parents” means one parent, and that parent is more than twice as likely to be a mother than a father."

The Pandemic Has Derailed Women’s Path Toward Equity. It’s Time To Get Back On Track

Forbes writer, Rebecca Henderson reports:

"This year’s Women’s History Month, and the last year in general, was surely bittersweet for many women given the setbacks they’ve endured, not only because of the pandemic’s devastating impact on our lives, but the fact that the crisis has disproportionately affected so many working women and working mothers – particularly women of color."

"Women seemed to be on track to continue making progress in 2020 when, just before the pandemic, women held more jobs than men in the U.S. workforce for only the second time ever and the first time since 2010. But the emergence of COVID-19 sent that progress backwards."

"According to a report by the National Women’s Law Center, women account for 55 percent of overall net job loss since the start of the pandemic, and since February 2020, women have lost over 5.4 million net jobs. In December 2020, all of the jobs lost were held by women, while men gained 16,000 jobs – marking a 33-year low in women’s labor force participation."

"Our economic recovery may be at the beginning stages, but it’s never too early to lay out a plan for how we can best ensure women are not decades behind in achieving gender equity at work."

New initiative connects BYU women with inspiration and resources

Daily Universe reporter, Holly Cluff wrote: "A majority of women who come to BYU have an idea of what life is going to look like after graduation and struggle when it’s not realized, Blau said. She said she faced this struggle herself when she graduated from Utah State University. She had planned on marrying early and having a large family but struggled when she found herself single for several more years.

Reed said she wants to reframe unmet expectations as “opportunities” for the students.

A lot of female students do not realize the opportunities before them and have the idea that they must choose a family or a career, Sanders said."

Six Strategies for Moving the Needle on Gender Equity

Reporters Katica Roy and W. Brad Johnson of Harvard Business Review report: "Businesses that close their gender equity gap enjoy increased profitability, productivity, and innovation; a greater ability to attract and retain top talent; and revenue gains. Yet many companies are moving backwards in addressing gender equity, and gender disparities are only widening"

" must be involved in making progress toward gender equity; without them, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts will fall short."

This article posted the webinar, where Roy and Johnson discuss:
  • What zero-sum bias is, and why it is a barrier to gender equity
  • Six strategies to help organizations overcome zero-sum bias among male employees
  • How these strategies quantify the economic gains from gender equity, hold leaders accountable for change, and expose misperceived social norms

Women of FHSS: Your Education is Not Your Backup Plan - It's Your Life

College of Family, Home, and Social Science blog post March 9, 2021, by Baylie Nordgren. “Once I realized this is my life and I am just as deserving of a quality education and a successful career as any man, my eyes were opened,” says Wallis. “I want every woman at BYU to know that she not only belongs here but is valued. We need your perspectives and bright minds. This is not your backup plan — this is your life, and you deserve every bit of it.”

Doctrine vs culture: Supporting women’s choices in the workplace, education

A Daily Universe article by Cassidy Wixom reports, "Women in Utah often face unique challenges entering the workforce or seeking higher education because of the prevalence of certain cultural attitudes within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

Utah Women: Encouraging young women to jump into the political arena

Article written on KSL by Lauren Bennett. "If we wait until we're 40 years old, then we won't be able to see the changes — but it also will just take that much longer for progress to happen, especially if we're in a situation where legislation and policies and gentrification is happening so rapidly," Pinkney told "We can help more people than if people were to run now, versus waiting until they're 50 and retired and feel comfortable."

What's Really Holding Women Back?

Harvard Business Review Article by Robin J. Ely and Irene Padavic. March - April 2020."According to the work/family narrative and broader cultural notions, [a woman's] commitment to family is primary by nature, so their commitment to work has to be secondary. But a family-first stance comes at a significant cost to their careers and flies in the face of their professional ambitions."

Harvard Business Review Podcast: Women at Work

Join Amy Bernstein, editor of HBR, Amy Gallo, author of "Guide to Dealing with Conflict" at HBR and Emily Caulfield, senior designer at HBR for conversations about "where we're at and how we move forward."

Finding Balance as a Dual-Career Couple

Harvard Business Review article by Amy Jen Su. July 29, 2019. "According to the latest research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of marriages in the U.S. are composed of dual-career couples. That number rises to 63% in married couples with children."

CAPS (at BYU) introduces mothers’ support group

Daily Universe article by Elena Castro. February 26, 2021. "We have such rampant perfectionism at BYU that there are a lot of moms trying to be the perfect student, the perfect mom, the perfect wife and there’s just not enough of that 100% perfect to go around,” CAPS clinical professor Lesli Allen said.

This perfectionism leads to a lot of shame and guilt, she said. It was her goal to provide a place for people to come and talk and see that they are not alone."

Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson Becomes Her Own Intern

NPR article and broadcast by Gabe O'Connor, James Doubek and Rick Bownmer. February 1, 2021. “Henderson says, after a while, the thing that kept her from getting her degree was feeling shame about not already having it. But she finally decided to stop being ashamed.

"...I just decided to be open about it and to be transparent about it and to hopefully encourage other women or men who are in a similar situation, where they're wanting to go back, but maybe feeling awkward about it, too, to help inspire them to just do it.""

How the ‘entitlement gap’ could be impacting your career

Stylist reporter, Lauren Geall reports: "...women have been socially conditioned to feel less deserving of things such as pay rises and promotions than men, a phenomenon they term ‘the unentitled mindset’." In quoting Edwina Dunn, Geall writes, "This is not about fixing women by changing the way they think – women are not born with an unentitled mindset,” she says. “It grows from experiences which encourage women to expect less, not to take up too much space, or not to demand ‘too much’.” 

How covid-19 triggered America’s first female recession in 50 years

The Economist reports, "According to a recent study from McKinsey, a consultancy, women make up 39% of the global workforce but accounted for 54% of the job losses from the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic to June last year."

"Policymakers are starting to pay attention. Last month Kamala Harris, America’s vice-president, called the exodus of women from the workforce a “national emergency.”"

United Nations: Fast-track women’s participation in public life ‘for everyone's benefit’

United Nations News reports, "Speaking up, and contributing to decision-making, is the right of every human being – women, just as much as men”, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet told the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. “It is also a powerful lever for better policy – for everyone”.

She cited evidence demonstrating conclusively that where women are well represented in government, there is more investment in social protection and a better focus on climate justice."

Utah makes major progress for women's representation in higher education leadership roles

Utah's KSL reporter Lauren Bennett reports:

"In 2014, 12.5% of presidents of degree-granting colleges and universities in Utah were women. In 2017 that number had grown to 25%. Today, 50% of the presidents are women."

"Utah is even ahead of the national average of 33% for the number of women in president positions at degree-giving universities. It's clear that state leaders and others have focused on this issue since the first report, said Susan Madsen, founder and director of the project.

In order to progress even more, she noted it's important to focus on the systems currently in place that give women opportunities to apply for these leadership roles. When institutions bring out-of-state or outside hires straight into upper management roles rather than looking inward, it can harm in-state women's chances at a job."
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Utah Women & Leadership Project Leadership Forum: How Women Rise

Sally Helgesen, cited in Forbes as the world’s premier expert on women’s leadership and is an internationally best-selling author, speaker and leadership coach Women’s distinctive strengths and behaviors provide them with many advantages. Yet the very habits that help them early in their careers can hold them back as they seek to rise. In this virtual seminar, Sally Helgesen draws on her work with legendary executive coach Marshall Goldsmith to help women identify and address the habits most likely to get in their way as they seek to move to a higher level. This forum, for women and male allies, provides understanding around what can hold women back and can help us all become more informed and effective supporters of female colleagues.

A Noble Responsibility for Good: Julie Valentine, BYU Devotional Address November 2, 2021

"...let’s get back to the topic of how we choose what is our “for good” after understanding the need to prioritize, choose, and neglect. One’s stage of life certainly influences the choice of what is “for good.” In Ecclesiastes 3:1 we learn, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” To me, this verse reinforces our need to be intentional in our decisions while acknowledging the differing seasons in our lives. As a university student, a strong component of your “for good” is investing in yourself through your education and experiences. Use your strength to learn and to grow. We may find that our professional lives influence our “for good.” This is what happened to me. I am a forensic nurse. I became committed to doing research ­specifically on sexual assault to try to make a ­difference—to work toward decreasing sexual violence and improving survivor support. My “for good” meant that I had to complete a PhD degree, which was a challenging task with my large family but doable because of the immense support of my wonderful husband, Mark, and the strength I prayed for and felt from the Lord."

Celebrating Our Divine Mother: a Faith Matters conversation with the Women who brought us the book series A Girl's Guide and a Boy's Guide to Heavenly Mother

Faith Matters interviewed Bethany Brady Spalding and McArthur Krishna who speak about the inspiration and direction they are receiving in writing A Girl's Guide to Heavenly Mother , A Boy's Guide to Heavenly Mother, and Girls Who Choose God series. This inspiring conversation discussses and encourages us to change the narrative of how we speak about our Heavenly Mother.

2021 BYU Women's Conference

Reported in the Church News , "Speaking during a session of BYU’s Women’s Conference on Thursday morning, President Bingham was joined by her counselors in the Relief Society general presidency — Sister Sharon Eubank and Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto — in offering ideas of how to extend the promise of belonging to every sister in the Church."

"Every woman in the Church, whether she is fresh out of high school, a career woman, a mother of small children, a woman who has experienced divorce, a widow — or any combination of those situations — absolutely belongs to Relief Society, Sister Eubank assured."

Global Women Studies Event: Work/Life Integration: Insights from Women Professionals

Global Women Studies at BYU hosted an event with five BYU graduates as they discussed exploring future opportunities and professional paths. The panel discussed, feeling qualified to apply for positions, imposter syndrome, advocating for self, relationship building to move forward in career development, overcoming challenges associated with home/family and career, ways to best handle sexual harassment in the workplace, and how most women want to help other women - so open your mouth when seeking mentorship.

A Fireside Chat with Sheri Dew: Utah Women and Leadership Project

Sheri Dew, internationally recognized author, speaker, and leader, is well-known for her engaging stories, forthright advice, and her passion around the potential of girls and women in Utah and around the world. In this engaging fireside chat, she responds to questions about her own leadership development journey and provides insights and perspectives on why, where, and how women today are needed to influence, impact, and lead in all settings.

Women Aren't Persisting to Graduation

Dixie R. Sevison, Director of Women’s Services and Resources at BYU, talks about Women, Education, Careers & Life. Dixie discusses research that shows how young women around the state of Utah are not persisting to graduation and highlights some key findings from the research community during this video.

  • Women pursue lower paying fields of study because they hope for more flexibility for employment, but employees with more high paying fields of study tend to have more workplace flexibility
  • (LDS) Women perceive their duties toward education as a mechanism to:
  • Provide for their family IF their husband dies, become disabled or leaves
  • Provide for themselves IF they stay single or lose their husband
  • Provide for their family IF their husband is laid off, or their family encounters difficult circumstances
  • In the article Dixie references ( What if Plan A Doesn’t Work by Casey Hurley, Department of Business Management at BYU-Idaho), Hurley continues saying ultimately female students will make major and career plans with guidance from the Holy Ghost and a final confirmation that their choice is the one the Lord has in mind for them, but they first MUST understand the importance of completing an education.

  • Research shows that for women, working outside of the home for pay is a necessity that cannot be avoided. Women are increasingly becoming the primary provider in their households and unfortunately are often unprepared for that reality (Ideas adapted from quoted text of Dr. Melissa Goates-Jones and also highlighted in BYU FHSS article Dr. Melissa Jones on Balance )