You can have it all. Just, not all at once: it might just be later than you were planning. According to Forbes, the American business magazine, the forties are often a wake-up call to truly grow up, to get another life, work on what you really care about, find the love you deserve, or the purpose you yearn for. In midlife, with kids tucked into schools, rules and rituals, ladies want to re-accelerate their careers and return to their younger jeans and growth and potential.
It takes most humans half a century to become themselves and discover what that looks and feels like – says Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, CEO of 20-first, a global gender-balance consultancy-. So the 40s are not, as some may think, the end – just the end of the beginning. However, we mostly aren’t aware of the shape of women’s careers. And because their shape is unrecognised and unacknowledged, we’re too often found wanting and under-performing in our first halves – even by ourselves. But pre-50 may just be the warm-up act to our new, 100 year-lives. The message for women in these decades? Relax, pace yourself, prepare strategically for the peak. Let time be your friend, rather than your foe.
For many women today, the second half is when they finally emerge into themselves and into the world. Yet, there is still an invisible barrier that blocks them from achieving their goals, especially in the workplace. For Andi Simon, a corporate anthropologist, founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants, and author of the upcoming book ‘Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business’, the system often forces talented women to give up before they reach the top.
Women find that the way forward is blocked, and at times they jump off the proverbial ladder rather than continue to fight to get to the top in companies, in government, and in male-dominated cultures – says Andi-. It is time for everyone to rethink what women can do and how we should enable them to do it. Our society needs it more than ever as we recover from this pandemic and restore the vitality of our economy and our cultures.
Our age group is in indeed a force to be reckoned with. So-called “older” women are playing a much bigger role in today’s labour force. According to the American Bureau of Labor Statistics, women over 55 are the fastest-growing age and gender workforce category. In fact, 3.6 million women over 55 will be added to the U.S. workforce by 2026. In contrast, the number of men over 55 working is projected to decline by 3 per cent.