My Letter to Melinda Gates

Dear Melinda,

Thank you! I’m so glad you’re inviting collaboration as to how we can change the workplace for our future. As a fellow Fuqua graduate,  I have seen so many bright and talented women hindered by the weight of running what I call the “Family Business” as they try to maintain or advance their careers. Some call this the “invisible work” of motherhood and others “emotional labor,” but I think to surface solutions, we need to frame the conversation in a way that furthers understanding of what it means to run a household and parent in the digital age. The infographic below aims to make what is often imperceptible visually clear.

The “Family Business”

As companies continue to address gender imbalances in the workplace, I think the answer lies beyond pro-family policies, and we should be looking at technology for solutions. So many of the tasks I do in a day are redundant and time-consuming from filling out permission slips with emergency contact information to optimizing my children’s after-school schedules while also factoring in transportation and childcare logistics.

In the same way that OpenTable made booking restaurant reservations so easy and TripIt made accessing travel itineraries so seamless, I need a slick system to support the running of the “Family Business.” As most women continue to do the majority of the work at home, we need a system to support defining roles and responsibilities so that we can delegate and democratize the running of the household and family life.  Otherwise, we are always by de facto in charge.  Increasing productivity at home would go a long way toward increasing productivity in the workplace.

Here’s a proposal: Companies that understand the need to help women get more leverage on the home front could sponsor a Developer’s Challenge with an open invitation to women to surface the best ideas. What a multilateral partnership this could be and what an impact it could have on how we reconstitute our last-century constructs and gendered roles!

I would love to contribute to such an initiative and have many ideas for technology development. I welcome your thoughts and any opportunity for more collaboration!

Julie Paul
Founder, Heard It From A Friend

©2021 Heard It From A Friend

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