Meet the Organizations Helping Women Thrive in the Workplace
It's a tale as old as time sheets: Woman gets a job she loves, rises in the ranks, starts a family, and then spends the next few decades figuring out how to stay focused and flourish in both spheres. But cracking—or even better, rewriting—the corporate code has become more important than ever: Women now make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce. According to a recent study by American Express, there are 31 times more female-owned businesses today than there were in the 1970s.
In nearly every industry, women have been the keys to igniting change. They helped revolutionize the way we cook and eat, design and create. They're redefining the beauty world, what it means to "work hard, play hard," and challenging the rest of us to rethink our impacts on the environment from going zero-waste to exploring urban farming. When it comes to inspiring future generations of change, they're also teaching kids how to rethink healthy eating, speak their minds, and reminding everyone to spread just a little more kindness every day.
And while women have certainly made great strides, there's still a ways to go. That's why these dynamic groups—many created by women—are here to continue spurring growth and a realistic idea of "having it all." They're here to say "Yes, you can!" and help women find meaningful work on their own terms.
So, whether you're trying to lean into traditional corporate culture—and the career-family balancing act that comes with it—looking for an alternative, or leaning towards striking out on your own, these modern, forward-thinking organizations are here to help.
This crowdsourced site, which is free, lets you suss out details you might otherwise be anxious to bring up at a job interview, like whether an employer offers flex time, its attitudes toward vacation and maternity leave, or whether there's pressure to stay late. It also maintains a database of leave benefits for businesses in the U.S.
Despite a high-profile career in engineering and product development, and then becoming one of the country's few women-of-color VCs, cofounder Lisa Skeete Tatum started Landit when she found herself adrift in her own job. "Everyone expected me to have all the answers—and I didn't!" she says. "It was uncomfortable, and I needed help. When I spoke with other women, they did, too." Think of Landit as your personal-career-counselor-slash-cheerleader that will not only empower and support you for free, but also encourage you to create a network of advisors and professional contacts, focus your personal brand, and track your accomplishments (because we don't crow about ourselves enough!).
The Mom Project
This online job matchmaker, which is free to join, connects its 80,000 members with more than a thousand employers committed to respecting the work-life balance of their employees. "Before a company can give you what you want, you have to be clear with yourself," says founder Allison Robinson. "Sit down and write a plan: List what you must have to be successful and happy, and what you'd like to have. Then keep it in front of you as you evaluate opportunities."
The Fortune 1000 companies, including Verizon and Dow Jones, and younger upstarts (think Buzzfeed and Casper) that work with this enlightened headhunter all prioritize the hiring of women and trans, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary people. Aside from helping place members at those top spots, this free organization assists companies in establishing more diverse and welcoming cultures.
It's X chromosomes first at this coed spot, which hosts public-speaking boot camps and expert-led programs for female entrepreneurs on topics like how to scale and raise funds. "When you're visiting a coworking space, ask yourself, 'Is this a community where I'll feel supported, and where I can talk to people who have been on my same journey?'" advises founder, CEO, and former lawyer Amy Nelson. Monthly memberships as well as hour-based memberships (floating desks for 10 hours per month start at $99) are available, while perks include discounts on everything from child care to health-and-fitness and wellness offerings.
"Don't underestimate your experience," says CEO Stacey Delo. "You may feel like you're qualified to do only one thing, but if you look at your skills, as opposed to your industry or job title, you'll see you can do much more." For $99 a year, this online connector offers members courses, coaching, networking, and support for women reentering the workforce, like a range of full-time flexible job opportunities with contemporary companies that understand a résumé gap.
"Having a place to work around other likeminded individuals is a game changer: It makes everything feel real," says founder Felena Hanson, who launched this organization in San Diego in 2011. Also serving as a business accelerator, Hera Hub, which starts at $80 per month, is currently striving to help thousands of women bring their ideas to fruition by 2020—and they're already more than halfway there.
As much chic social club as enclave of community desks, this two-and-a-half-year-old network, which starts at $2,220, uses the Latin alis grave nil ("nothing is too heavy to those who have wings") as its motto and rallying cry. It offers its seven-thousand-some members networking opportunities, including happy hours, crafting sessions, and talks by inspiring notables like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Bonus additons, like lactation rooms and in-house childcare, are also available along with showers and blow-dryers should a potential client say, "Actually, I can meet in an hour—does that work?"
Ladies Get Paid
"Remember, everything can be negotiated," says founder Claire Wasserman. "Don't take a first offer." Join this network's 30,000 existing members, all focused on helping women navigate gender power dynamics, and you'll also have access to resources like job opportunities, advice-sharing, and online courses on everything from steering salary discussions and nailing an interview to setting work boundaries, and more. The best part, it's free.
This membership group (it'll run you $350 a year) for creative working moms—including Lauren Bush Lauren, founder of Feed, and Drybar's Alli Webb—grew out of an Instagram page started by two mothers looking for like-minded peers. It hosts talks, classes, workshops, and encourages cross-pollinating expertise (designer, meet trademark lawyer!).
With CEO Sara Sutton (pictured), who's had over 20 years in the online job market industry, this site prides itself on a team (of actual humans!) who researches all remote, part-time, and freelance positions posted, clearing out scams and time-wasters. The effort you save using the service, which costs $15 a month, or $50 annually, should be spent polishing your applications, says senior careers specialist Brie Reynolds: "Just as you need to tweak your résumé for each job, you need to tweak it for the type of job."
The Second Shift
Seeking a remote, longterm, or limited-time project and have eight years' professional and leadership experience (these listings are legit)? Apply here. Founded by former journalist and television producer, Jenny Galluzzo (left), and creative-turned-entrepreneur, Gina Hadley, this team will interview and email you when the right gig comes up, and you pay its five percent cut only if you get hired.