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Women in the Workforce: Reflections from a Multi-Generational Panel Discussion

How have workplace norms and expectations for women evolved across generations? What factors are driving these changes? How can we continue to make the workplace more inclusive for all? In honor of Women’s History Month, Judge’s Women’s Empowerment Employee Resource Group (ERG) brought together a diverse panel representing different generations and their unique perspectives to answer these questions and more.  

Diane Russell, Judge’s Senior Vice President of Marketing spoke on behalf of her fellow Baby Boomers. “I feel like women have more of a seat at the table than ever before, thanks in part to the ‘Me Too’ movement and other recent diversity initiatives,” Diane shared. “We’re simply more comfortable speaking up.” 

Diane and her fellow panelists did just that, using this Day of Understanding to speak up and share lessons learned from their own lived experiences. Here are a few key takeaways from the empowering discussion.

Women no longer have to choose between family and career

When panelist and resident Gen Xer, Meghan Roberts, Judge’s VP of Talent & Organizational Development, joined the workforce, women had far fewer options than they do today. “When I started my career, working moms had to choose. You couldn’t have both the family and that fast-paced career — you could have a career, but you most likely had to choose a lesser path.”  

Today, Meghan noted, things are different. For example, rather than assuming a new mother can’t handle a promotion or additional responsibilities, leaders recognize that women are able and eager to contribute meaningfully to their organizations and their families. 

Mental health should be a priority for all generations 

Prioritizing mental health is important for employees from all walks of life, but especially for members of younger generations. Operations Specialist and Gen Zer, Morgan Simms, acknowledged that this fact isn’t merely anecdotal. “Research from the Society for HR Management and McKinsey states that 25% of Gen Zers rated their mental health as poor or very poor compared to 8% of Baby Boomers and 13% of Gen Xers,” she shared.   

For Morgan, navigating conversations about mental health at work can sometimes be challenging, but they’re always rewarding. These discussions become much easier when employees feel they can express themselves without fear of being judged. 

The battle for work/life balance is worth fighting for 

Burnout is a universal problem across generations and genders, and it’s one that Samantha Grabowski, Executive Administrative Assistant and Millennial, proactively tries to avoid. Her advice for maintaining a healthy work/life balance? “Don’t be afraid to take a break before you burn out,” Samantha shared.

“Your career shouldn’t be a race to the finish line; it’s important to enjoy the steps in between. And as women, we don’t need to constantly prove our value or worth to be successful — you have worth, that’s why you’re here.” 

Challenging the status quo 

Despite their differences, women of all generations continue to face challenges in the workplace, and the fight for greater representation and equality is far from over. For Baby Boomers, who were the first generation of women to enter the workforce en masse, fair compensation was a key concern as they worked to get a seat at the table. Gen X experienced many of the same struggles as they embarked on their careers and strived to juggle work and family life. Younger generations, including millennials and Gen Z, are vocal about the importance of prioritizing mental health, and are willing to confront these issues head-on to prevent burnout and achieve a healthy work/life balance. 

All the panelists and Judge’s Women’s Empowerment Group ERG leader Kristin Ortiz, Director, Digital Marketing, agreed that the inclusive culture at Judge is part of what makes it a great workplace. By embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) and promoting a culture of belonging, Judge has created an environment where employees and contractors can produce their best work. And that’s something professionals of every generation can take pride in being a part of.