Women with strong career interests can turn to a couple of magazines for solace and advice: Pink and Working Mother. We've received new issues of each in the MagSampler.com newsstand, and have found that they are as different as boardroom and family room.
The more buttoned-down of the pair is Pink, a nicely designed and edited business bimonthly (seven issues a year) with oversize pages. You can tell a publication is for women when the letters section is titled "Femail." The magazine, now in its second year, is published in Atlanta, Georgia.
Pink is clearly for an executive audience, for women who are making high incomes or hope to get there soon. What high-finance story ideas do the editors come up for such a readership?
You'll find advice in the February/March issue of Pink that could be in any magazine for business managers and entrepreneurs: how to keep your employees from idle surfing on the Internet, ways to get your product or service talked about on television, ideas for diversifying your portfolio. But what other business publication has a profile of Gloria Steinem, an article extolling the virtues of meditation for busy executives, or a look at how women are advancing (slowly) to positions of prominence in a number of American churches?
I slammed on the brakes at an article titled "Alimony Blues," warning readers to get pre-nuptial agreements lest they wind up paying substantial alimony to their ex-husbands. The first example cited by writer Betsy Schiffman is 47-year-old businesswoman Kim Shamsky, who "is outraged at having to pay thousands of dollars a month to her ex." That this a magazine for women is obvious when that lucky ex-husband is identified simply as "a 65-year-old retired major league baseball player." I think he can only be Art Shamsky (I looked it up and he is indeed 65), beloved to New York Mets fans for his role in the team's 1969 world championship. To a baseball fan, omitting his name in the article is like writing that "Senator Clinton is having problems with her husband, a retired politician who declined to be interviewed for this article."
There are plenty of case histories of successful women, as well as ideas (and ads) on the stuff to buy with those big bucks. A feature in this issue focuses on the autos that such women are driving, and what their car choices say about them.
And yes, there is an astrology column! February 14 through March 8 are "challenging days for business," so hunker down.
Working Mother is a magazine with a decidedly different orientation: it describes itself as "the only magazine for balance seekers." Achieving that delicate balance of family and working life is the theme of this New York-based magazine, which gets a lot of press for its lists of the best companies to work for if you're a mother. Working Mother is published nine times a year.
A read of the February/March issue shows that Working Mother is more along the lines of a traditional women's and parenting magazine, with the difference that its articles assume the reader is a bit more tired and harried, and perhaps guilt-ridden for unavoidable neglect of children and hubby. She's also assumed to have substantially more disposable income.
The sex article in the issue is the classic tale of the working mother who compiles a list of things to do that day, including "have sex." But it's on the bottom of her list, probably never to be checked off as completed. If her husband were to keep such a list, writer Lisa Armstrong says, "have sex" would probably be close to the top. She offers a sad statistic from Working Mother's survey of 800 working moms: 22% report they have sex fewer than 12 times a year. Armstrong explores some of the reasons that working mothers avoid sex, and suggests a few ways to get back in the swing.
There's a nice feature in each issue called "Learning Curve," with separate pages dealing with problems of children of different ages. For children under two, the topic in this issue is an unhappy child in day care. In the 3-5 years section, it's how to deal with a child's intense attachment to one parent. For those with children 6 to 10 years old, you'll get tips on how to be at your best for a parent-teacher conference. And if your child is 11 or older, you'll be gently prodded to play more with the kid.
You'll also find recipes (length of cooking time is an important factor), descriptions of family-oriented resorts and profiles of interesting working mothers, such as actress Marlee Matlin.