Womenomics (/wim'in•näm'iks/) n. 1. Power. 2. A movement that will get you the work life you really want. 3. The powerful collision of two simple realities: a majority of women are demanding new rules of engagement at the very moment we've become the hot commodity in today's workplace.
Thanks to the heady new world of Womenomics, professional women can finally get what we really want. We can radically transform the way we work and the way we look at work, we can redefine success on our own terms. And we're not talking about doing more work for less money, thanks to some pseudoflexible schedule. No.
In ways they never would have done even five or six years ago, major companies are starting to adapt to our lifestyle demands. They finally understand we're not looking for a better company cafeteria, a free dinner after working late, or a fancy gym—all glittering handcuffs to keep us on the job. We want freedom— to make our own decisions, to control our own work lives. Our talent, experience, diligence, and commitment, they are coming to see, are more than fair trade.
In enlightened pockets of the working world, Womenomics is already happening. There are companies that allow you to choose from a menu of work options. There are part-time law partners who still get the big cases. There are company executives who work full time but who spend no more than thirty hours a week at their desks. There are accountants who get home at 3 p.m. every day but who stay firmly on the company fast track. And there are companies where you can work wherever and whenever you want, as long as you meet the bottom line. Technology and power and plain common sense are freeing us from that antiquated morning-to-evening prison in ways we could not have imagined a decade ago.
Though women are leading this charge for change, it will soon benefit the entire working world. Some firms are embracing this wave on their own; others need a gentle push, while the rest may need to be dragged into this new era. But they will all be there, and so will you.
Winning your professional liberation does demand a rethink— a fundamental reevaluation of what success really means. The push to that epiphany can be many things; for the two of us, as for many women, it was children. We both remember with vivid clarity our moments of insurrection.
My route to professional enlightenment led straight through the U.S. Capitol. It was a gray, drizzly March afternoon. I was sitting on the steps of Congress, waiting to do a live report on the latest machinations of that illustrious elected body, when my phone rang.
I knew exactly who it was. I tried to ignore it. It was my boss, offering me a job I didn't really want. Or rather, I really wanted the job—anchoring an evening news show—I just didn't want the hours that came with it.
The phone rang again—I still didn't pick up.