Womenomics: New Ways for Women to Aim for the Top

The struggle to balance life at work and at home is a familiar one for many working women. Some though, are finding, that flexibility is allowing them achieve their ideal work and family lives.

It's part of a movement we call Womenomics.

Womenomics is the combination of two truisms. The first is women are a hot commodity in the workplace. We have enormous power that many don't even know about. The more senior women who work at a company, the more money the company makes. We control 85 percent of consumer purchases. Our management style, seen as more conciliatory, is in demand these days. Employers are tired of losing us.

VIDEO: Author Claire Shipman discusses gender and work in her book, "Womenomics."
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And the second truism is, women are demanding new rules of engagement, we want more control of our time so that we can focus on family,as well as career. We are tired of working in a way that does not work for us--playing by rules we didn't make. We want to be able to dial our careers up and down.

But creating a more flexible workplace can stir up a lot of difficult questions. Just who gets to work from home and when? Will your work suffer if you spend too much time with your family? Answering those questions, and the conversations that come with them, can be difficult.

"Good Morning America" brought together a round-table of women of various ages and at various stages in their careers to discuss the "Womenomics" phenomenon and the pressure to be successful both at home and at work.

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Something's Gotta Give?

"Womenomics" has sparked a debate about what this new way of work means for women. For decades, women have been hearing "we've come a long way." But have we?

For Christine Heenan, Vice President of Government Community and Public Affairs at Harvard, success at work and at home has meant not aiming for perfection. "There's always something you're giving up," she says. She's tried full-time, part-time, flex-time -- even started her own company that let her have plenty of time at home. But can women who want to dial down for a bit -- still aim for the top? Absolutely, says Heenan.

"I think it's a false premise to suggest that only by aiming to the top, do you ever get to the top," she explained. "I think much more in terms of a career path and a career ladder, where the only route is up. I think if you're good at what you do, if you work hard and if you listen to yourself and say, this is the time to downshift, this is a time to upshift, you may still find yourself at that destination."

Womenomics: Having It All

The iconic Enjoli perfume advertisement talked about "having it all," but for different women, that can mean different things. Shelley Worrell, a 33-year-old digital manager shares a common desire with many working women.

"My feeling of having it all is obviously having a great job, a really fulfilling career and also having time for my friends and family," Worrell said. She's representative of many in her generation, the younger generation, in that she and her peers -- even if they are single with no kids -- still value time for their personal lives.

Worrell explained, "I have no qualms or no opposition to women having that work-life balance because I want it for myself as a single woman without children because I want to be able to go to the gym. I have a garden that I need to tend to."

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