“We must close the housework gap” with Christine Michel Carter and Candice Georgiadis

To close the gender wage gap, we must close the housework gap. Unlike men, women tend to take on the daily or weekly tasks — laundry, groceries, cleaning, childcare — that can’t be deferred if she wants to work late. As part of my series about “the five things we need to do to close […]

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To close the gender wage gap, we must close the housework gap. Unlike men, women tend to take on the daily or weekly tasks — laundry, groceries, cleaning, childcare — that can’t be deferred if she wants to work late.

As part of my series about “the five things we need to do to close the gender wage gap” I had the pleasure of interviewing Christine Michel Carter. Featured in The New York Times, Christine Michel Carter is the #1 global voice for working moms. Called “the mom of mom influencers,” “the exec inspiring millennial moms,” and “the voice of millennial moms”, Christine clarifies misconceptions about working mom consumers for brands and serves as an amplifier of their personal truths. From delivering consumer insights and brand marketing content to helping HR and diversity teams attract and retain these hardworking professionals, Christine works with advertising agencies, research firms and companies to ensure they’re at the forefront of the minds of female consumers. Her insights have been included in four books and she is the best-selling author of “Can Mommy Go To Work.” She also contributes to several global digital publications, including Forbes, TIME, Harper’s BAZAAR and Parents. Because of her digital presence and work with mom influencers, Christine was asked by Senator Kamala Harris to support the awareness of the Maternal CARE Act, a personal issue also close to her heart. The creator of Mompreneur and Me, Christine has introduced the first national mommy and me professional development networking event that has garnered the attention of Adweek and Entrepreneur as well as global brands like McDonald’s and Tessemae’s.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” that brought you to this career path?

My career in marketing started in 2006, when I was the director of marketing for a retailer in Baltimore. I enjoyed providing leadership to and advising the CEO, director of operations, and other stakeholders on effective communication strategies and messages so much, I decided to open a retail marketing firm. Over the years I’ve been labeled a thought leader because I’ve headlined workshops, seminars and panels, instructing, educating and inspiring organizations on successful marketing to black millennials and millennial mom consumers.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?

I had a consulting firm because when I was 21 years old, I was told by my then employer no one would ever pay me a great deal of money for my marketing strategies. That I was too young. No other reason. However, I’d already been in management roles and other companies and at this particular company, I provided leadership to and advised the CEO, director of operations, and other stakeholders on effective communication strategies and messages. I left that job because I was told to settle for a low salary just because I was 21. Eight years later I returned to the workforce full time, and was hired with a company making three times the amount of money my former employer told me I was worth. Without that ignorant comment and the support of friends and family, I wouldn’t have had the courage to step out on my own. And because I had my own success as an entrepreneur, my resume was stronger.

Can you share a story about the funniest or most interesting mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first began as a consultant, like most women I undervalued my services. My hourly rate was 1/3 of my male counterparts, and as a result it really forced me to work with some… interesting…. businesses. From there I learned that it’s important to research what your competitors are charging, and that’s it’s okay to price yourself out of the conversation.

Ok let’s jump to the main focus of our interview. Even in 2019, women still earn about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. Can you explain three of the main factors that are causing the wage gap?

The housework gap: Millennial women are working more hours, earning more money and contributing more to household income. But they’re also still doing the majority of the unpaid work at home.

Remote work: A remote job is one that is done away from the office in a remote location. This could be either work done from home, or work done on the road. Not all companies allow employees to work remote.

Flexible work: A flexible schedule is one that allows and employee to work outside of traditional 9am to 5pm business hours, and often goes hand in hand with remote work. Not all companies have adopted a flexible work policy.

Can you share with our readers what your work is doing to help close the gender wage gap?

Due to household responsibilities moms have they have very little time for sponsorship and networking. I know what that feels like. That’s why I created Mompreneur and Me events, which are inclusive parent and child-friendly networking events. Moms no longer need to feel guilty for wanting to focus on their career or for leaving their child to do so- their child is with them at the event and they’re in a room with like-minded women. Plus the events are nationwide and free, which everyone loves.

Can you recommend 3 things that need to be done on a broader societal level to close the gender wage gap? Please share a story or example for each.

To close the gender wage gap, we must close the housework gap. Unlike men, women tend to take on the daily or weekly tasks — laundry, groceries, cleaning, childcare — that can’t be deferred if she wants to work late.

Working moms also need the ability to work from home. It’s been reported remote workers log more hours and are more engaged. Eliminating commuting time would give some of these moms nearly an extra hour of their day back to complete household chores.

Working moms should also have a flexible work schedule. They have a credible reason to request this- they statistically go to work earlier than the average young worker and are more likely to have nonstandard work hours. Keep in mind: a flexible job doesn’t just impact the amount of time a working millennial mom spends with their child, it also affects the mom’s finances, stress levels, health and overall quality of life.

I also think job sharing is a fantastic form of flexible working for moms. It would allow moms interested in becoming mompreneurs a more flexible schedule to pursue passionate work, and for those who have returned to the workforce or for those looking to advance their careers, it provides them with the opportunity to learn new skills and make an impact within their organization.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

It would definitely be my current work with Mompreneur and Me. Though millennial moms say motherhood is an important part of their identity, nearly half say their career is their identity outside of motherhood. So Mompreneur and Me helps mothers in their careers by helping them develop new skills.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Oprah once said that a mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. My kids do that for me. I also do a lot of public speaking and professional development work for teenage girls and I’m so inspired by this next generation of passionate, self-confident #blackgirlmagic.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Oprah Winfrey!!!!! (and I’m saying that in my Oprah voice.) I firmly believe it’s not motherhood that keeps us from gaining clarity and launch- it’s being a female. For example, men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. We’re terrified to launch because we’re terrified to fail, but it’s like Oprah said: “you get out of life what you have the courage to ask for.” If you’re not asking- no telling- life you want to empower others and brand your skills, you’re not gonna get it from life.

This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.

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