Palo Alto Software to Host Panel on Women’s Workplace Issues

Eugene, Ore.

As major tech companies face criticism for their efforts to deter mid-career employees from having children by offering to pay for women to freeze eggs, Palo Alto Software, an Oregon-based software company known for it’s family-friendly workplace policies, will host a panel this month to discuss issues facing professional women today.

Palo Alto Software CEO, Sabrina Parsons will lead the Oct. 22 panel, discussing the efforts she has made at her company to level the playing field for working women and families. Parsons is a sought after speaker and writer on the topic, having been featured in publications like Huffington Post and Business Insider. She was also invited to speak about her policies at the White House earlier this year. Parsons will be joined by:

  • Patricia Greene, professor of entrepreneurial studies at Babson College. Green is currently the national academic director for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, and also the advisor to the 10,000 Women Program. Additionally, she’s a founding member of the Diana Project, a research group focused on women entrepreneurship.
  • Jodie Levin-Epstein, deputy director of CLASP.org. Levin-Epstein works to advance social policies involving paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, job schedules and pregnancy discrimination.
  • Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media and CEO of Diversity Best Practices. Evans is a highly acclaimed keynote speaker on the advancement of women, work life balance, barriers facing women of color and leadership. She has appeared on major talk shows including the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, Good Morning America and PBS To the Contrary.

“Women have done very well in business in the last three decades, but the pace of change has slowed to a disappointing level. Many highly qualified women are stuck in middle management jobs with little hope of progressing to the top. Unconscious bias against women is a huge factor, as are the general lack of work life support systems like flex and paid parental leave that allow women to combine the challenge of a career and the joy of a family,” said Evans. “There is much we can do to counter these problems. It's critical that both individuals and companies look carefully at how to build a culture of support that works for the 50% of all employees who are women.”

A recent study from Palo Alto Software found that women are over five times as likely to be discriminated against in a work setting because of their gender, and twice as likely to be called “bossy” in a professional environment. The study also found that 36 percent of men say having children has had no impact on their careers, compared to just 19 percent of women.

“We need Corporate America to understand that it’s normal for women to be business leaders too, regardless of their personal and family lives,” said Parsons. “Offering ridiculous, big brother-esque ‘perks’ like paying to freeze eggs essentially scares women away from leadership roles and tells them that having children is bad for their career. Instead, we need to change the workplace culture to help women integrate their work and home lives as they take on leadership roles and begin to have families.”

The panel will begin at 12:00 p.m. EDT on Oct. 22. Panelists will share the work they are doing to promote gender equality in the workplace. Webinar attendees will get the opportunity to ask questions at the end. For more information and to register to attend, please visit http://bit.ly/NotEqualYet.