Q&A with the authors of The New Soft War on Women

Rosalind C. Barnett is a senior scientist at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. Her pioneering research on workplace issues and family life in America has been sponsored by federal grants, and she is often invited to lecture at major venues in the United States and abroad. Dr. Barnett has a private clinical psychology practice and is the author of scholarly and popular books and articles.

How has your life experience/s made you the leader you are today?
Starting out when we did, when discrimination was daunting, we had to carve out our own paths with few models. Women, if they worked at all, were expected to be teachers, nurses or secretaries. Roz Barnett opted for graduate work in psychology, when no woman in her family had ever gone to college. She experienced great insecurities about whether she could actually achieve her goal.

Caryl Rivers’ mother was a lawyer, who faced steep obstacles in her own career. So Caryl was forwarned about the potholes ahead, and indeed, they did not fail to appear. Few females were hired as journalists, outside of the “women’s pages” that featured news about food, fashion and parties.

The fact that we had to battle in-your-face discrimination toughened us. The injustice motivated us to work even harder to show the skeptics that they were wrong, that women could be leaders in their chosen professions.

Why do you believe so passionately in women’s issues?
Because we struggled so hard, we wanted to make it easier for the women following us. Part of our passion comes from discovering that the stereotypes were a poor fit for us–and for millions of other women. We wanted to expose the myths about all the things that women couldn’t do–and that our research was proving that they could. Unfortunately this struggle continues, but hopefully because of our work, those battles may be at least a little bit easier.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
When our children were young, we were constantly juggling. Finding time for everything made for long hours, but happily, there were rewards that lightened the load. We may not have made it to every school event, but we made sure our kids had plenty of time with us. They let us know that they appreciated what we were doing–including making major contributions to the household finances. Our husbands’ love and support and their willingness to co-parent made our complicated lives easier. Our own experiences–and a mountain of research–tells us that the children of working mothers turn out just fine.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your respective academic careers?
Highlights include the six books we have written together which have received critical acclaim and, we hope, have helped to shift the landscape of women’s and men’s lives. But perhaps the greatest reward has been a decades-long partnership in which we support each other and gain enrichment for our lives.

The main challenge for Roz Barnett has been the ongoing struggle to obtain adequate research funding to sustain her body of work. The temptation was to move away from research on gender and towards topics that were more easily funded.

For Caryl Rivers, a major problem was that she was paid considerably less than her male colleagues of the same rank, despite fifteen books and many articles. Thankfully, that situation was remedied after many years. A new president of Boston University launched a major campaign to bring gender equity to the school, underscoring the importance of strong leadership in making change. Leaning in is helpful, but can only go so far.

How can women successfully utilise new technology to tackle the gender gap?
First, we have to make sure that the gender gap in technology closes so that women can actually get in the game. One roadblock is that scientists and mathematicians and their work are stereotyped in ways that make those career choices unattractive to many women.

You’d never guess from the stereotypes that engineering and science are typically collaborative efforts–teams working closely on complex problems. The image of the socially awkward nerd, working alone with test tubes in a dingy lab, is a far cry from reality.

Moreover, we know that women often look to jobs that have a social impact– where they can do good while they do well financially. Scientific teams have drastically reduced childhood leukemia, helped restore the Everglades, preserved sea turtles in the Caribbean, reduced AIDS in Africa, learned how to save lives by predicting volcanic eruptions and solved crimes through forensic science. Such activities are often not what women think when they hear the words “math and science.” When we connect technology to social good, women will be more likely to travel this path.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Women are doing spectacularly well in universities, getting more advanced degrees than men, but in the workplace it’s an opposite picture. Women are stalling out, and the higher they go, the harder it gets. Cutting-edge new research tells us that a whole network of land mines is exploding women’s progress as they try to move ahead.

What are your thoughts on Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In book and movement?
Sandberg did all women a service by reopening the issue of women, work and leadership. Her book is built on what individual women need to do to attain leadership positions in the companies they work for, and her “lean-in” circles can be very helpful–more, perhaps, for elite women than for women in general. However, as Sandberg herself admits, we have to look beyond the individual in order to craft solutions to gender discrimination. Our book lays out an approach that involves not only individuals but corporate culture and national policies as well.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Roz Barnett’s mentor was a professor at the Harvard Business School who took her under his wing as a newly minted Ph.D. and provided her with support and encouragement which was immensely helpful in launching her career. Caryl Rivers’ husband Alan Lupo, a journalist and columnist, was her biggest cheerleader and always encouraged her to stretch her wings and take risks, which often paid off.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
For Caryl, Gloria Steinem was inspirational by the way in which she made feminism seem both fair and generous, and by her courage in battling for women’s rights even through the jeers, insults, threats and ridicule.

For Roz, Betty Freidan was an inspiring, supportive and thoughtful woman who provided encouragement to people who shared her passion for gender equality.

What do you hope your latest book, ‘The New Soft War on Women’ will achieve?
We hope to rewrite the current national narrative that women are soaring, about to take over the world, that the glass ceiling is a thing of the past and discrimination is yesterday’s news.

The facts are quite different. Gender discrimination has not disappeared but it’s gone underground, and is all the more dangerous for being unseen.

Cutting-edge new research tells us that a whole network of land mines is exploding women’s progress as they try to move ahead. We want this book to be a wake-up call for all of us, to ensure that The New Soft War will not succeed in crippling women’s hopes and dreams the women-are-winning narrative undercuts our ability to fight the Soft War.

If women buy the message that all the gender battles are over, but they still aren’t advancing as fast as they should be, then they may well believe there’s no one to blame but themselves. What to do? Take more courses, beef up your credentials with more degrees, work harder, join company sponsored self- esteem-building programs and on and on.

But if the problem is subtle discrimination, along with deeply entrenched gender stereotypes, self- improvement will have only a limited payoff for getting into the C‑ suite. If you put all your eggs into the self-improvement basket and forgo any concerted action with other women (or sympathetic men) , your stall will be permanent. Too often, we have met the enemy, and she is us.

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Minimum Wage Increase? Eh…


–Sixty percent of small business owners surveyed say increasing minimum wage would hurt small businesses, while approximately 60 percent also said they would not reduce workforce or benefits if an increase occurred.

–Small business optimism remains unchanged from the previous quarter.

–Business owners say finding new business, the economy, healthcare and government are biggest challenges facing their businesses today.

Small business owners are divided on whether the national minimum wage should be increased, and a majority of small business owners say increasing the minimum wage would hurt business owners, in the most recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index.

Increasing the minimum wage was one of many concerns conveyed by small business owners in a survey conducted Oct. 23-29, after the government shutdown ended. Overall, optimism among small business owners did not change significantly in the survey.

In the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, small business owners were divided between those who approve (47 percent) and those who disapprove (50 percent) of a law raising the national minimum wage to $9.50 an hour. This contrasts with a separate recent Gallup poll of the general American public, in which three-fourths of respondents said they supported increasing the minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $9.

In the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, 60 percent of survey respondents said increasing the minimum wage would hurt small business owners. About 30 percent reported that an increase in the minimum wage would have little effect on most small business owners. Yet when asked how approval of minimum wage legislation would impact their businesses, approximately 60 percent of small business owners said they would not reduce their current workforce or employee benefits.

The survey results follow recent state and federal government legislation and proposals on the minimum wage, including this month’s passage of a new law in New Jersey that indexes future increases in the minimum wage to inflation. In September, the California state legislature voted to raise the state minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016. A proposal to raise the minimum wage also is being considered in the U.S. Senate.

Small business optimism

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index remained mostly unchanged over the past several months, and is currently at a positive 24 (+24), compared with the third quarter Index score of positive 25 (+25). While it’s the second highest score in the last five years, the Index score is below pre-recession levels.

When business owners were asked to identify the most important challenge facing their businesses, several concerns rose to the top of the list. In the fourth-quarter survey, business owners once again said their top concern was finding new business, yet this concern dropped from 28 percent to 13 percent of responses. Other top concerns include the economy (12 percent), healthcare (11 percent) and government (11 percent). The number of business owners identifying “government” as the most important challenge was much higher this quarter than in the third quarter.

“Small business owners are still in wait-and-see mode,” said Doug Case, Wells Fargo Small Business Segment manager. “As they plan for next year, they are looking for more economic stability. Yet the debates around the debt ceiling and Federal budget signal more uncertainty ahead. And uncertainty suppresses business growth and expansion.”

The survey also found that nearly one in four small business owners expect to have a better operating environment and are more optimistic about their business’s future in 2014. Half of business owners surveyed said they expect the operating environment next year to be about the same as this year.

Small Business Index Key Drivers

Wells Fargo, together with Gallup, surveys small business owners quarterly across the nation to gauge their perceptions of their present situation (past 12 months) and future expectations (next 12 months) in six key areas: financial situation, cash flow, revenues, capital spending allocation, hiring, and credit availability.

How Entrepreneurship Extends Baby Boomers Careers

How Entrepreneurship Extends Baby Boomers Careers

Why 70% Of All Employees Hate Their Jobs

Look at any three people in your workplace. Statistically, only one of them feels good about being there.

According a recent Gallup report, more than two-thirds of U.S. workers (70%) are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work.

That’s bad news for companies already struggling to hire and retain talented employees, because “engaged employees are the ones who are the most likely to drive the innovation, growth, and revenue that their companies desperately need,” Gallup says.

How to keep employees engaged

Jacob Morgan, co-founder of Chess Media Group and author of “The Collaborative Organization,” offers some perspective in a recent post: “Work is not the same as it used to be and we are seeing dramatic changes in both behavior and technology, not just in our personal lives but in our professional lives.”

Good management leads to a direct increase in the number of employees who are engaged at work. Gallup found that managers who focus on their employees’ strengths can practically eliminate active disengagement in their organizations and double the number of workers who are engaged.

“Engaged employees have well-defined roles in the organization, make strong contributions, are actively connected to their larger team and organization, and are continuously progressing,” Gallup reports.

The study also found that employees who spend at least part of their time working remotely are more engaged than those who are on-site full time. And even though they don’t have a manager nearby to monitor their behavior, they tend to work longer — an average of four hours longer per week — than their on-site colleagues.

5 trends shaping the future of work

Morgan points to five trends that are shaping the future of work, affecting employee engagement, and challenging us to find new ways to unlock human potential in the workplace. Among them, managers need to “follow from the front,” understand technology, and lead by example.

Changes are already here — and the old way of doing things is breaking down. Many smarter organizations have already adapted, but how is it working out for the older, hierarchical organizations? They’re still figuring it out, and still relying on methods that worked in the past.

It comes down to this: All organizations will have to adapt if they expect to thrive.

— Adapted from a post written by Jim Fields for the SAP Business Innovation blog.

via Why 70% Of All Employees Hate Their Jobs.

The Secrets To Taking Your Small Business Global – Forbes

The Secrets To Taking Your Small Business Global

The following guest post is by Kunal Sarda, cofounder and COO of VerbalizeIt, a human-powered translation platform for businesses.

The world is changing. “Crowdsourcing companies” like ours didn’t exist ten years ago and the concept of the “large multinational” truly only came into our lexicon at the end of WWII. Today, the combination of the internet, global markets, and a rising international middle class, have allowed a company of any size to compete globally. The world isn’t just flat— it’s completely open. Small businesses should take notice.

Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers live outside the US, and they account for nearly two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power according to the US Small Business Administration. Despite these shocking statistics, only one-percent of American companies currently exports its products and services overseas. What was once a game reserved for multinationals is now open to anyone. Why haven’t small businesses gotten the memo?

Several roadblocks—some perceived and some very real—are holding back small business owners from capitalizing on the growing global marketplace.

As a crowdsourced translation platform, we’ve been forced to meet this demand head on and have grown from a small start-up to a global company that serves customers all over the world. Based on previous roadblocks of our own and our customers, here are three recommendations we have for small businesses looking to take a bite out of the global pie.

1. Be Laser Focused

As a small business with limited resources, chasing down any and every market opportunity that seems attractive is not an option. Narrowing down which markets you want to approach and why is critical when taking your small business global. Develop a disciplined method to expanding your business and ensure that every new market you explore offers at least one of the following advantages over others:

I. A larger customer base, potentially with a higher willingness to pay

II. Access to cheaper supply of labor or raw material, leading to cost efficiencies

III. Legal, regulatory, or other systemic factors that make it easier to do business

2. Be Contextually Sensitive

Starting a business takes pivoting (lots of pivoting). Starting a business overseas with cultural, language, or legal barriers, requires even more iterations. Companies can drastically steepen their learning curve and avoid catastrophic mistakes by leaning on local experts.

As we grew to support customers and translators in foreign countries, we found ourselves in a unique situation with brand evangelists all over the world. Rather than look at each of our translators as a number we put each and every one through a survey to better understand them and the culture they are from. This led to thousands of meaningful global data points that inform how we approach international markets. Small businesses can achieve the same goal through simple online survey tools like Google Forms, Wufoo, or Survey Monkey.

3. Be Multilingual

Language barriers are by far the biggest challenge in going overseas. Yet they are often a secondary thought when looking to expand globally. With only eighteen-percent of Americans speaking a second language, it’s difficult for American small businesses to appreciate that English is not the primary language for doing business overseas.

In fact, if you are targeting one of the top fifteen emerging markets, there is a sixty-percent likelihood that your customers speak little to no English. Couple that with the fact that more than seventy-percent of customers say that they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language and the importance of being multilingual magnifies.

The language translation industry runs the gamut from free and often unreliable machine translation to large expensive call-centers. Small businesses looking to expand globally need to work somewhere in between where they can pivot quickly without committing to long-term contracts or risk alienating new customers.

Take Away

When the time is right, focus in on your new market, be sensitive to their culture, and go beyond English. The multinational game isn’t just for Fortune 500 companies anymore, the rules are changing.

via The Secrets To Taking Your Small Business Global – Forbes.

Identifying Your Fears

The process of identifying what you fear is different for different people. Some have the innate ability to easily identify, “what I’m really afraid of is looking foolish in front of my family”. Some people may find the prospect of even admitting being afraid as unbearable. In either case try this exercise and see if you can gain an in-depth understanding of what you may fear. This will help you well beyond your business life.

Step 1

Outside of sleep, in descending order (most to least) list the top 5 activities you do with your time






Step 2

Next, in descending order (most to least) list the top 5 activities you’d like to do with your time






Step 3

Compare your list. Take note of the differences in the two lists.

For each area where you’d like to spend time doesn’t match up with how you actually spend time complete the 5 why cause analysis. Here’s how:

  1. Write down the specific reason that you don’t spend time doing the activity you’d like to be doing.

    Writing this down is essential. Formally identifying the problem and describing it completely will help focus on the actual problem and not the symptoms.

  2. Ask Why the problem happens and write the answer down below the problem.
  3. If the answer you just provided doesn’t identify the root cause of the problem that you wrote down in Step 1, ask Why again and write that answer down.
  4. Repeat this process until you achieve an answer that you can act on.

In the end what you end up with will look something like this:

Step 1

Outside of sleep, in descending order (most to least) list the top 5 activities you do with your time

1. I spend most of my time at work.

Step 2

Next, in descending order (most to least) list the top 5 activities you’d like to do with your time

1. I’d like to spend time traveling with my wife and my son.

Step 3

For each area where you’d like to spend time doesn’t match up with how you actually spend time complete the 5 why cause analysis. Here’s how:

I don’t spend time traveling with my wife and son because I can’t afford the cost.


I don’t make enough money.


My job doesn’t pay enough for me to travel with my family.


I don’t qualify for a higher paying job.


I don’t have enough experience.

Step 4

Decide on an action that will solve the problem. In this example, the problem was that the guy hadn’t been at the job long enough to be promoted to a better paying position. This makes his solution pretty simple. Stay at the job longer; take the steps you need to in order to qualify for a promotion.

Step 5

Ask yourself if you already knew why you weren’t doing what you wanted to do with your time. If you did, it’s very likely that you’re afraid of some part of the action that it takes to implement the solution. In the example above, the worker must only continue working at the company and do a good enough job to qualify for his desired promotion.

But what if it he couldn’t make more money because he had dropped out of high school? This leads to more questions. Why did he drop out of high school? Was it the peer pressure of the friends he associated with? Was it that the work seemed too hard? Did he get someone pregnant and need to quit school to work? He’d have to consider going back to school to receive his General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D.). After that, he’d likely have to enroll in college and seek a four year degree. Is he smart enough to complete high school (which he’s already failed at once)? Can he spare the time to go back to school with work, a wife and a child? If he goes back to school how will his current group friends view him? Will he seem like he’s looking down on them for not going back and bettering themselves? We really begin to get a sense of where this guy’s fear may be rooted.

This process is tough. It forces you beyond your surface rationalizations and into a deeper understanding of you. The good part is that once you’ve done it enough times it gets much easier. And the benefit of understanding what you fear and how to it will be tremendous motivator down the line.

Successful entrepreneurs to share stories at local high school

Successful entrepreneurs to share stories at local high school

Published: October 28th, 2013


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of Florida’sWarrington College of Business Administration is partnering with Buchholz High School to present the second annual panel discussion featuring local successful entrepreneurs and business leaders.

The free event titled “Mind Your Own Business,” or MYOB, starts at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Buchholz High School auditorium.

Organized by students in Buchholz’s Academy of Entrepreneurship and DECA, a business-marketing student organization, the panel discussion aims to educate students and business professionals about the tools and skills necessary to establish and sustain a successful business.

Scheduled panelists are:

Aidan Augustin: CEO and co-founder of Feathr, a Gainesville-based mobile software startup. Feathr harnesses big data to help form the right connections at a conference and provides an intuitive, actionable interface to streamline post-event follow up. Feathr developed the app for UF Tech Showcase and the TEDxUF event.

Byron Young: Owner and founder of CordaRoys. He quit the UF building construction program in 1998 to pursue what makes him happiest- CREATE. After a couple of semi-successful ventures, CordaRoys has now grown and has even been featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank” this year and struck a deal with one of the “Shark Tank” investors.

Rich Blaser: A graduate of Buchholz, he is CEO and co-founder of Infinite Energy in 1994.  Infinite Energy sells natural gas and electricity in five states and has  more than 375 employees.  The company has been recognized by the Florida Trend Magazine four of the last five years as one of the best large companies to work for in Florida.

Trevor Abbott: Founder and chairman of Gator Innovators, co-founder and CEO of Spin Chill, co-founder of StartWhys Co-work, and mentor for HackerHouse. Trevor is a UF student pursuing his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering wile bringing together students and startups to better connect the community and provide resources for hopeful entrepreneurs.

Valerie Sheehan: President and CEO of ToneRite, world’s most advanced and premier play-in device.  ToneRite significantly accelerates the play-in process and provides increased tone, playability, and balance, for musical instruments. She is highly involved with the Gainesville Community including the UF Entrepreneurship Club, Gainesville Area Network, Innovation Hub and more.

The panel discussion will be moderated by David Whitney, entrepreneur in residence at UF’s College of Engineering.

Last year, Maria Vargas & Emma Stetter co-produced the first annual MYOB event. They were awarded first place at the DECA State Competition and third place at the International Competition in California. This year, Maria Vargas, now a senior at Buccholz, is working with Jaydin Leslie, senior and Welsey Lopez, sophomore to produce the second annual MYOB event.

Proceeds of $500 from the first annual MYOB were presented as a donation to the UF Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability: Gainesville Summer Service Project (

“It’s exciting to see how a few bright, motivated young leaders can create such an engaging and impactful event,” said Kristin Joos, director of the Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability Summer Program for High School Students.  “Last year they had a full house, and with growing energy and enthusiasm around entrepreneurship in our community, as evidenced by the outstanding panelists, I’m confident MYOB will be another educational and inspirational evening this year.”

For information about the MYOB program, visit or contact Maria Vargas

Wow. The World is Really Changing.

Turkish entrepreneur opens first online ‘halal’ sex shop – Financial Express.

Young Entrepreneur Opens Up Restaurant, Looks to Expand |

Young Entrepreneur Opens Up Restaurant, Looks to Expand |

How to give your small business some extra media attention using statistics | Metro

How to give your small business some extra media attention using statistics | Metro.