Published 08 March 2016 Category: Workplace

Can women have it all?

Balancing parenthood with a career, achieving personal development goals while providing an equal financial contribution to the household – the concept of “having it all” is one that remains the burden of women to answer.

Here are some three common issues that many working women face:

Equal pay for equal work

According to the Australian government, the Australian gender pay gap – that is, the difference between what a man and woman might expect to earn for the same job stands at 17.87%. This issue presents itself at all levels of employment.

So, what can be done to address this? In the quest for professional parity, women are encouraged to do their research, backing up salary negotiations with supporting data where possible, and highlighting inconsistencies with remuneration within their organisation. By bringing this issue to the fore, the hope is that companies will be forced to address it and to adhere to the legislation already in place to protect all workers.

Double Trouble

The “double burden” refers to those individuals who work outside the home but are also predominantly responsible for the bulk of household tasks. In most countries, it is women – in part due to ingrained cultural and gender expectations – that more often than not carry this extra load.

The State of the World’s Children’s 2007 report states that women worldwide typically work longer hours than men, regardless of whether they live in a developed or a developing country, often resulting in increased stress and time away from work due to illness.

Education is key in resolving this issue for future generations. Ensuring that both men and women equally contribute to the household tasks, and acknowledging their worth helps to create equilibrium.

Flex it out

We previously discussed issues that specifically impact upon working mothers in Asia, however this is a global issue that often results in women leaving the workforce before they are ready. And while adequate maternity leave, childcare provision and flexible working all go a long way to addressing some of the concerns that working mums have, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach.

So what can companies do to support and encourage working parents to continue in their career and mitigate the growing skills gap across various industry sectors? Thinking creatively is the key. Adopting virtual office space allows mums to work flexibly in line with the needs of the business while allowing more freedom than then typical desk job.

Ultimately, it should be noted that working women aren’t a homogenous group, and all have individual views on what “having it all” looks like to them. But regardless of role and salary, acknowledging that women deserve equal rights across the board and are a valuable asset to the wider workforce can only help individuals – and businesses – to thrive in the long term.

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