Diversity Woman Magazine

FAL 2018

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Fa l l 2 0 1 8 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 41 structural barriers is key. "I'll take my own profession, the law," she says. "We know that women have been 50 percent of law school grads for almost a decade, so those women should now be making a dent in the partnership ranks of large law firms. But those numbers have just crept up in - crementally, from about 13 to 15 percent. We're still less than 20 percent of equity partners. e numbers are getting bet - ter at the start of women's careers. But as they progress through their careers, they face those structural barriers of family and work, of flexibility. Our work - place rules are still set not from the turn of the last century but from the century before—the Industrial Revolution, punch in–punch out workplace rules. We can do better. It's the 21st century." Tchen says holistic culture change must be spearheaded by the C-suite and must address issues ranging from family leave and flexible work schedules to recruit - ment policies and promotion, evaluation, and retention policies. Having been a single working mother, she's committed to easing the way for working parents. "Although I was a part- ner at a big law firm and had resources to take care of my kids, it was still hard," she says. "I could only imagine how much more difficult it would be for someone without the resources that I was fortunate enough to have. So focusing on working families' issues became a priority for me, and for Valerie Jarrett [former senior advisor to President Obama and former chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls], who shared the same passion as a single working mom herself, when we got to the White House." Tchen and Jarrett worked with the Obamas to craft a working-families agen- da and held the first ever White House W hen Gina Pitre started working at Walmart in D'Iberville, Mississippi, in 2016, she enjoyed her job. Then a manager began making suggestive comments and touching her inappro- priately. Feeling angry and degraded, she began to dread going to work. Pitre reported the harassment to Walmart's ethics department, but fol- lowing an investigation, she was told the matter was closed. Pitre earned $11.50 an hour, so attorney fees simply weren't in her budget. But when she learned about the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, she reached out for help. The fund connected her with an attorney and is helping to fund her ha- rassment lawsuit against the manager and Walmart. Pitre's case is one of the first to be backed by the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, which offers legal assistance to women, especially low-income women, who have experienced sexual miscon- duct including harassment, assault, or abuse, or related retaliation. Since the fund launched on January 1, 2018, more than 2,600 women have been connected to legal resources. Meanwhile, 21,000 donations have flooded in to fuel the fund. The donations—ranging from $5 to $2 million—have come from men who want to support their wives or moth- ers, from numerous businesses and industries, and from all 50 states and more than 50 countries. More than 500 lawyers have signed up with the fund to provide pro bono or reduced-cost legal services. In ad- dition to offering legal support, the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund has PR specialists who help guide clients in deciding whether speak out and, if so, how to best share their story. —KO THE TIME IS NOW Summit on Working Families in 2014. "We had a whole policy agenda around paid family leave, as the starkest exam- ple," Tchen says. "We are one of only two nations in the world that does not have some form of paid maternity leave. We're the only industrialized country without any paid family leave as a national policy, so we are behind our global competitors in the global marketplace." ey also championed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help resolve gender pay disparity by banning pay se- crecy rules in the workplace, for example, and providing negotiation training for workers. When Congress didn't pass the legislation, the White House modeled the policies within the federal workforce through the Office of Personnel Manage- ment and through executive orders. Tchen says that modeling culture change can be powerful, whether it comes from the White House or corporate lead- ers. "I'm happy to say that companies are doing these measures voluntarily," she says. "And state and local authorities are stepping up to pass equal wage resolu- tions and ordinances on paid family leave and paid sick leave." As Time's Up continues to gain energy, Tchen says the future looks bright. "We're at a moment where we're having a na- tional conversation that involves both men and women—across ethnicity and income levels—about our values and the kind of workplaces that we want to build. Once you can unlock someone's economic potential, then whole other worlds open up for them. It's good for families, for communities, and for the entire country. We can help set examples for the world as well. I'm very excited about the moment that we are in and the possibilities for change." DW TIME'S UP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND You have to manage this risk like any other threat to your enterprise. Companies are really seeing that now.

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