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Research shows that white women and women of colour rarely work together to fix the workplace inequities they all face, like lower pay, disparity in promotion and incidents of harassment.Getty Images

Content from The Globe’s weekly Women and Work newsletter, part of The Globe’s Women’s Collective. To subscribe, click here.

Despite facing many of the same barriers, women don’t always come together to address inequity in the workplace.

In her book, Shared Sisterhood: How to Take Collective Action for Racial and Gender Equity at Work, Dr. Tina Opie highlights how white women and women of colour rarely work together to fix the inequities they all face even with the commonalities they experience, like lower pay, disparity in promotion and incidents of harassment.

Dr. Opie, an associate professor of management at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., references research by Dr. Ella L. J. Edmondson Bell of Dartmouth College and Dr. Stella M. Nkomo of the University of Pretoria. This research found white women are more likely to be raised in individualist communities where success is based on individual work ethic, while Black women (and, in Dr. Opie’s research, other women of colour) are more likely to be raised in communities of resistance, where they are taught to work hard but to remember the world is not designed for them.

As a result, when women head into the workplace, they look for women who look like them, who they can relate to and who they connect with.

Read about how women can mend divisions and join together to fight for better equity at work.

Forget four-day workweeks, shorter workdays are what firms should be considering

Four-day workweeks are all the rage, but instead of a compressed workweek, what about a compressed workday? At a time when we are examining what we want work to look like, the idea of a shortened workday is one option worth examining, particularly by those organizations who want to attract workers.

The current norm of five days a week, seven or eight hours a day is something that has evolved over time with productivity gains. In the 1880s, the typical workweek in Canada and in many other industrialized countries was six days a week and ten hours a day. Over the next 50 years that declined so by the 1950s 40 hours spread out over five days was standard. Many workers did and do put in more hours than that of course, but unlike hours spent on a production line, it is not clear that hours in office and productivity necessarily increase in lock-step.

Read why shorter workdays could improve office morale without affecting productivity.

Three seasoned work-from-home Canadians share their must-have office upgrades

Almost 25 per cent of Canadians either work from home full-time or have a hybrid work arrangement.

Yet many of our workspaces at home are still less than ideal, because they aren’t set up with ergonomics in mind or because they’re simply uninspired, and we often work from the couch or dining table, instead.

To inspire your next workstation upgrade, we asked three professionals who primarily work from home – a creative director, a CEO and a tech founder – to share the budget and splurge finds that have helped them make their perfect office.

Check out their fabulous work-from-home spaces.

In case you missed it

How cracking down on ‘time theft’ affects women at work

Three years after the COVID-19 outbreak, most companies have adopted a hybrid model of work as their baseline culture, meaning employees spend at least some time working from home. At the same time, some employers are becoming increasingly suspicious of just how much time their staff spends doing the work they’re being paid for.

In January, a B.C. tribunal ordered an accountant to pay her former employer more than $2,600 after tracking software showed she engaged in “time theft” while working from home. Meanwhile, U.S. tech giants such as Meta, Alphabet and Amazon recently called workers back into the office, with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying an internal analysis of employee performance data suggested that engineers working in person “get more done.”

If the idea of time theft becomes a growing concern for employers, the resulting crackdowns around flexible and remote work could have troubling implications for all workers, with experts saying it could hit women hardest of all.

Read the full article.

In a recession, DEI programs are often the first to go. Are businesses prepared for the consequences?

As the business sector navigates an uncertain economy, organizations across the country are no doubt strategizing how budgets can be tightened.

While diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives might seem like an easy target for cuts, employers may not be prepared for the short- and long-term consequences, says Jennifer Anthony.

“If companies see it as a quick and easy solution, they’re taking a big risk,” says Anthony, senior vice-president at FleishmanHillard HighRoad and chair of the HR and governance committee at Pride at Work Canada, a non-profit that works with employers to celebrate all employees regardless of gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Companies that shut down active DEI work are demonstrating to women, Indigenous, racialized, 2SLGBTQ+ and disabled employees that they’re no longer valuable, says Anthony. De-prioritizing diversity can alter perceptions of the workplace and its brand, leading to employees losing interest in their workplaces.

Read the full article.

Ask Women and Work

Question: I’ve been working in corporate jobs for almost two decades. About five years ago, I started a side business. It’s been going well, especially in the past year, so much so that I’m itching to go full-time with my side business. But I’m conflicted about giving up a great job with excellent benefits and pension for the uncertainty of small business ownership. How do I know if it’s time to take the plunge?

We asked Lisa Borden, owner of business and human development advisory firm Borden Communications Inc., to tackle this one:

Your question is great and holds the key to answering what’s best for you. Are you ready for the unknown? That depends on many things, including your mindset, current life responsibilities and how much you trust yourself. No one can really know the answer better than you.

I encourage you consider these qualities and questions that can help you decide your best course of action:

  • Passion: Are you deeply passionate about your business?
  • Purpose: What is your purpose? Are you connected to your venture for the right reasons?
  • Resilience: Are you ready to face setbacks, jump hurdles, circumvent roadblocks and still keep going?
  • Creativity: Do you enjoy being creative and problem-solving?
  • Financial stability: Do you have funds saved? Are you stable enough financially to take care of what you need to?
  • Community: Do you have mentors/collaborators and relationships in your life that you can lean on through challenging moments?
  • Skills: Do you have (and/or are you willing to learn) the needed skills (marketing, finance, operations, etc.) to be successful?
  • Mindset: Are you excited about the unknown? Are you prepared for different (and often unexpected) hours that might change your daily schedule?

If you have answers to these questions that feel good to you, you’re ready. It’s about your willingness to switch from a path of relying on what’s familiar and stable for a more challenging path headed in an unfamiliar direction.

One thing that is also important to highlight: Having a job and pursuing entrepreneurship at once might have been a safe and ideal way to begin, but it can take a toll on you in all dimensions of wellness, including financial, physical, social and emotional. Holding on to both commitments is not committing to yourself and most likely not sustainable.

You will find your success when you are true to yourself. After nearly 30 years of supporting entrepreneurs in human and business development, this is one of the very few things that I’m sure of. Plus, Plan B (your previous career) is always available.

If you feel ready to become a full-time business owner, I encourage you to follow your passion and bring your dream to life. Believe in yourself and trust that you are on the right path – it’s such a liberating feeling. Most importantly, be all in, whatever you decide.

Submit your own questions to Ask Women and Work by e-mailing us at

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