Category Archives: Working Women

Women Remain Cut off From High-Paying Opportunities, Earn 35% Less than Male Counterparts

Tracey Eker speaks out on ongoing workplace discrimination

This week it was revealed that female bosses earn an average of 35% less than male colleagues at the same level. More than 40 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed, it is clear prejudice persists in the UK workplace, and the extent of it is shocking.

CEO and founder Tracey Eker was asked to appear on STV Glasgow’s primetime news slot, in which she discussed the issue of women being squeezed out of their existing roles after returning from maternity leave, or excluded from high earning positions. She recalls the discrimination she faced after having her first child:

‘During my maternity leave with my first child I experienced some of the negativity women are faced with from employers.

This really dampened my time off and soured my whole entry back into the workforce. I was made to travel excessively as if to prove a point that I couldn’t do it all like I used to. That relationship quickly came to a close and I decided to stay home with my baby’

Tracey then began looking for part-time work, but was disappointed to discover a distinct lack of transparency if job advertisements, with many employers seemingly unwilling to be upfront about the availability of flexible working in their organisations.  A ‘lightbulb moment’ ensued, and Tracey got the idea to start her own online job site, designed specifically as a platform to connect skilled candidates who need or desire flexible working with the employers who need their skills:

‘Having children really showed me the lack of provision of flexible working within the workplace and highlighted the need for employers to be more upfront about the types of workplace flexibility they could/have on offer.  So in a way, my children are responsible for me coming up with Flexiworkforce in the first place!’

The idea of transparency in job advertisements surrounding the availability of flex-time, homeworking and other modes of flexibility is paramount to women finally  being able to break through the glass ceiling and break down the barrier of ‘presenteeism’.  It is clear that though employers preach diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities, these ideas are less easy for organisations to actually put into practice.

The message is clear- only when employers make flexible working accessible will women’s participation be truly representative, and their earnings equal to that of men.

 

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Why Flexible Working Works For Men Too

While flexible working is generally accepted as being necessary for certain groups within society, for others, making the switch to flexibility can prove more challenging. Men, for example, may be less likely than others to work flexibly because of how they will be perceived by employers and colleagues. Some report that there remains a stigma attached to flexible working with  even those who would benefit from a more flexible routine often do nothing about it, for fear of being viewed as lazy and unmotivated

At Flexiworkforce we believe that these outdated ideas belong well and truly in the past. It’s the 21st century already!

Here are some reasons why flexible working applies to men too.

1. Because flexible working is pivotal to building a portfolio career

Increasingly, a number of men are carving out their career by working on a series of projects, sometimes simultaneously, rather than by subscribing to a traditional 9 to 5 routine. The benefits of portfolio working are numerous, and it has been said that this is a solid way to ‘recession-proof’ your career. The uptake of portfolio careers is only set to increase in the future, with the millennial generation being identified as a ‘generation of contractors’.

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2. Because… Why should anyone work 9 to 5?

Think about it, we live in the age of computers and connectivity has never been so much much of a priority worldwide. All you really need is a smartphone and a laptop and you can work virtually anywhere. Well, anywhere you can get a Wi-Fi connection that is!

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3.Because men have family commitments too

It’s not the 1950s anymore, and men are just as likely to have child commitments as women. This means that a large proportion of men would benefit from more comprehensive working hours. Also, flexible contacts allow stay-at-home dads and house husbands the opportunity to boost their income and find personal fulfillment in a role which works around their existing commitments.

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4. Because flexibility boosts productivity

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, various studies have shown a link between productivity and flexible working. For many, the 9 to 5 is stifling and commuting takes up valuable time and energy. Think time efficiency and the ability to work whenever inspiration strikes you! Don’t work hard, work smart, in order to get results.

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5. Because flexibility is the future of business

Companies large and small are rapidly realizing this, and many already offer forms of flexible working. Flexible schedules benefit businesses in that telecommuting cuts overhead costs, and flexible workers are more likely to be motivated, with many reporting high satisfaction rates.

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Therefore, there are many reasons why men can and should consider flexible working.

Do something about it today! Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates about our exciting launch. Get ready to reclaim your life/work balance for good!

Why Every Company Should Want To Hire Working Mums

multitasking Animated Gif on Giphy

                      Everyone knows that mums make the world go round…

–  Excellent time management skills.  

Getting the kids up, fed and dressed before school every morning can feel like something of a military operation at times. However, most mums we know have this down to a fine art. Working mums = punctual staff

-Bags of creativity.

Mums are used to helping with (or maybe just doing) craft projects for their kids’ homework or school projects. Give a mum some PVA glue and some old cereal boxes and she will make magic. Of course, this creativity can easily be applied to world of business, in order to find unique solutions and get consistently excellent results.

-Multi-Tasking Abilities to Rival the Skills of any Renaissance Man.

 It’s no secret that mums are the original masters of the portfolio career. They often find themselves working five jobs simultaneously, functioning as cooks, counsellors, nurses, chauffeurs and while at the same time fulfilling a multitude of other roles.

-Mums Make Good Team Leaders.

Anyone with kids will know how essential it is to work as an effective team leader within the family. Motivating teenagers to get out of bed and be productive is no mean feat, and the managerial tactics displayed by mums lend themselves well to directing teams in a working environment 

-Great Communication Skills.

Think about it, mums are used to patiently dealing with children deviating from their best behaviour in public. Put simply, mums are direct and effective communicators. Forthright yet tactful, mums also make great mediators.

 Company directors, never to underestimate the power of mums!

Get Building, Girls!

Have you ever heard of GoldieBlox? This new toy company’s aims to inspire girls to become ‘future engineers’. We may live in the 21st century, but women are still hugely underrepresented in jobs relating to engineering. It seems that even now, boys are encouraged from a young age to do well in maths, science and technical subjects while girls are pushed more towards languages and social sciences. This is not surprising when you consider the vast range of toys on the market aimed to encourage boys to build.

GoldieBlox represents a challenge to traditional notions of gender, and aims to encourage girls to have fun while using the technical side of their brains. According to its creators, Goldie Blox is a construction toy designed from a female perspective. While women hold only 11% of all engineering jobs worldwide, it definitely seems right that steps are being taken to address this discrepancy.

Check out GoldieBlox’s website here: http://www.goldieblox.com/

Who Needs Feminism?

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Carla opens our eyes a wee bit further…

Men and Gender Equality

Gender equality is still often considered a “women’s issue”. Furthermore, in the past, gender issues and gender equality policies have been contextualised mainly as a women’s issue.

Gender equality, however, is a responsibility of all individuals and it has increasingly been acknowledged that men and boys are also inextricably involved with gender issues and that they have an important role in efforts to achieve equality. Moreover, it is widely believed that progress towards gender equality will stimulate positive transformations in the lives of both women and men resulting in a better society.

In 2004, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) stated that “men must take joint responsibility with women for the promotion of gender equality” making “contributions to gender equality in their many capacities, including as individuals, members of families, social groups and communities, and in all spheres of society”.

Two years later the Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on Men and gender equality, noting that “in order to improve the status of women and promote gender equality, more attention should be paid to how men are involved in the achievement of gender equality, as well as to the positive impact of gender equality for men and for the well-being of society as a whole”.

The European Commission’s Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015 also stresses that: “gender equality needs the active contribution, support and participation of men and policies should also address gender-related inequalities that affect boys/men such as literacy rates, early school-leaving and occupational health.”

The first EU study on the role and position of men in gender equality issues was released in December 2012 and is entitled: “The role of men in gender equality – European strategies & insights”. The study undertakes systematic and comparative research- in the fields of education, employment, reconciliation policies, violence and health- and presents conclusions and recommendations on each of the areas analysed, as well as some guiding principles on how to develop policies to improve the role of men in gender equality.

From its side, the European Institute for Gender Equality, EIGE works with the issue of men and gender equality by taking a dual approach: “Firstly, the appointed staff member coordinates EIGE’s activities around men and gender equality topic. Secondly, attempts are made to follow horizontal approach by integrating men’s perspective in EIGE’s research and consultation work when relevant”. In 2012 EIGE produced a report on the involvement of men in gender equality in the Institute working areas.

Men and Gender-Based Violence

Like Gender Equality, Gender-Based Violence is not an exclusive concern of women, but is inherently connected with both genders.

‘We need more men with the guts, with the courage, with the strength, with the moral integrity to break our complicit silence and challenge each other and stand with women and not against them’.-Jackson Katz

Violence against women reflects and reinforces gender stereotypes (see my postWhat is gender-based violence); it is therefore important to understand how traditional conceptions of masculinity and femininity can affect relationships between men and women, and even result in violent behaviours.

My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman’.- Tony Porter

On the occasion of November 25th, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged men to become part of the solution, by confronting negative stereotypes that perpetuate this kind of violence:

Men must teach each other that real men do not violate or oppress women – and that a woman’s place is not just in the home or the field, but in schools and offices and boardrooms. 

Moreover, one of the main recommendations in the Commission’s above-mentioned study “is to promote non-violent masculinities by changing gender models and promote a concept of ‘caring masculinity’ in contrast to the traditional, hegemonic masculinity model which is strongly connected to violent behaviour”.

In the last decade, men have increasingly become subjects of studies and policies and, from their side, men and boys are redefining masculinity and working for the promotion of gender equality.

timeforequality.org Carla Fronteddu
Gender specialist
Siena

www.timeforequality.org
carla.fronteddu@timeforequality.org

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