How can women “have it all”? Might we not reframe the question and ask, how can women live fulfilled and meaningful lives?
Women, like men, have a vocation to work, a professional calling to transform and improve the world around them. In his famous Letter to Women, Saint John Paul II encouraged all people to appreciate “the genius of women” and enable it to be “more fully expressed in the life of society as a whole.”
In 2013, Yuma Center opened its doors to champion this positive view of work. Wherever women find themselves working - in the home, office, or community - there are opportunities for intellectual, spiritual, and professional growth.
Women aspire to greatness and desire to make a lasting impact. And as women are enriched by their work, their workplaces are enriched by them. According to the World Economic Forum, countries with greater female representation in leadership roles are more prosperous and competitive.
God has gifted women with unique abilities that not only strengthen families, but also enable workplaces to thrive. Women bring people together. They build structures and systems. They get things done. They have the ability to empathize, serve and practice charity with great strength. This is a power and a vision that is very much needed in the workplace.
Often, many women either need to work to help provide for their families, or seek a way to use their gifts to contribute to companies and organizations. Fortunately, in the past several decades, technology has enabled more people to start their own business or work remotely. According to McKinsey & Company, more than 70% of employers offer flexible schedules or telecommuting, providing more family-friendly workplace policies.
Working professionally while raising a family presents unique challenges for each mother and father. Women need support, encouragement, and insight on ways to thrive in all areas of life. We have an historic opportunity to inspire women to discover new perspectives on work that resonate with their deepest aspirations and love for family, friends and God.
A fulfilled life is measured by developing talents and serving others. Perhaps rather than asking how women can have it all we could start empowering women to harness their potential to build up their families, companies, and society with optimism, excellence and joy.
M. Sharon Hefferan is the Director of Yuma Center, a center in Washington D.C. dedicated to enriching the lives of women and girls through the wide range of programs it offers. She is also a speaker at the 2018 Principled Entrepreneurship Conference on the topic of Dignity of Work, to be held Oct-3-5.