When flexible schedules first appeared in the workplace, many thought that this was a match made in heaven for working moms—and frankly, so did they. After all, flexibility allowed working mothers who had previously struggled with balancing work and family to finally find some peace. But there’s another factor to consider in why flex is so important: women’s equality. Here are four reasons why.
Flexibility allows women to have better work-life balance.
No matter how evenly working parents try to split household duties, one parent often winds up doing the lion’s share of the workload, and that can often be the mother. With work flex, working mothers can still bring home the bacon, while actually working from home. They are able to take care of their children and do their jobs without having to sacrifice one for the other. And, most importantly, they can ditch the working mother guilt, knowing that they can be present (both emotionally and physically) for their children.
Flexibility allows women to climb the corporate ladder.
Studies have shown that men tend to be more aggressive when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder, while women tend to stay put in their careers after a certain point. The reason? Children. Working mothers are concerned that seeking higher positions will bring with it longer hours spent at the office, and many are not willing to make that sacrifice. Having a flexible schedule allows women to climb the corporate ladder without having to worry that they will lose time with their families.
Flexibility allows women to be viewed as a serious job candidate.
In the past, it was assumed that women would be the job seekers who would ask for work flexibility during an interview—if they even had the courage to ask at all. No more. Among today’s savvy job seekers, both men and women are seeking flexible schedules. When both genders ask for flex, it removes the stigma that only women need work flexibility because they are desperate to juggle the demands of their work life with their family life. In essence, it allows hiring managers to see job candidates for their potential, realizing that work flex is now necessary for all workers.
Flexibility allows women to not be disadvantaged by the motherhood penalty.
In the workplace, some working mothers have been penalized. This may come in the form of lesser pay, fewer benefits, and an overall sense that they are not as competent as their male colleagues. This “motherhood penalty” hits women in their wallets, but also in terms of their sense of self as a worker. Work flex works to restore that balance, to show working women that they can take time off to care for aging family members or attend their child’s chorus concert without criticism, blame, or other negative consequence.
As we mark Women’s Equality Day today, let’s all celebrate work flexibility for allowing women to earn the same wages as men, continue in their careers, and take care of their families—all on their own terms.
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