Working women in the year 2013: Can we have it all?
This is a question that's been burbling along for a few years now. On the one hand, there's the promise of feminism: You can have a family, a career, and pursue happiness just like anyone. On the other hand, there's reality: Women still earn 70 cents on the dollar to men, and are woefully under-represented in the corridors of power. Too few are CEOs, senators, members of corporate boards, and so on, and the barriers to those corridors of power are often straight-up discrimination (perceiving men as male leaders as commanding and female ones as bossy) or the demands of family (there are bosses who understand a sick kid, and those who just don’t).
Can women have it all? To me this often seems like asking ‘Can women have a phone number?’ Yes and no, we can’t have one phone number, we each need our own (and some of us need three or four). So if we each need our own version of having it all—what does that even look like?
I’ll tell you exactly what it looks like on Dec. 3, at the Ritz Theater, at our next Tastemakers event. Tastemakers, of course, is Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s series of live events at which we gather folks from the local food or drink scene, sample their food, and I lead them in a probing (very probing!) interview about what they’re up to and why they’re doing it that way. For the next Tastemakers I’ve put together a panel of some local women who have created nationally prominent food careers—in very interesting ways.
Jacquie Berglund, Zoe Francois, Jodi Ohlsen Read
Jacquie Berglund, CEO and founder of Finnegans, decided to build a life around helping others through beer, so she created a business in which all the profits go to putting healthy local food on area food-shelves. Jodi Ohlsen Read wanted a rural and wholesome farm life—so she became one of America’s most award-winning cheese makers, founding Shepherd’s Way. Zoë François traded in a career in high-end restaurants as a pastry chef after she had kids because it had all the wrong hours, swapping it for a career as an author, speaker, and co-owner of the Artisan Cooking in 5 Minutes a Day brand. (In 2009 François’ cookbook sold more copies than Michael Jackson’s autobiography or Lidia Bastianich’s new book.)
So, what comes first, the woman or the career? The life, the work, or the life-work balance? How did they do it? What do they wish they had known before they started? What’s more important, a best friend or a good bookkeeper? We will answer all of these questions! Or at least, we will come up with some part of the answer, while we eat and drink and generally have a good time. I don’t know that we’ll have as good a time as when we had all those bartenders at a Tastemakers event and I was actually breathless with laughter with tears streaming down my face. But I know we will have at least a good a time as when we had all those brewmasters and everyone was so entertained and engaged we stayed in the alley next to the Ritz till all hours.
Okay, if you’ve never been to a Tastemakers, here’s how it works: We all meet at The Ritz Theater at around 6 pm. Tickets are $10. That gets you admission, and, this time, a chance to sample Finnegans ales, Shepherd’s Way cheese, and some Zoë François pastry. After mingling and sampling for a while, we take our seats! We have a probing (probing!) and hopefully amusing and inspiring panel discussion led by me, and then a follow-up question and answer period led by you, and then we all go to dinner or go home or stand in the alley or whatevs.
So, do you want to come? Buy a ticket! Or, for a chance to win a pair, leave a comment below with the answer to this question: What is one quality (not the only quality, but one quality) you need in a job to have it work for you? We’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, Nov. 8.
Hope to see you there, not least because I think we probably can have it all—as long as we define all in a meaningful way, and that is a good thing to do together, over beer, cheese, and cookies.