Make the most of flexible working arrangements

Many women who return to work after a career break choose to return part-time. This may be due to personal preferences or, conversely, costly and inadequate childcare arrangements that make returning to full-time work for both parents either impossible or unnecessary in terms of no financial gains (once childcare costs are subtracted).

Many women in leadership positions may find themselves in a situation where their employer tells them that their role cannot be done on a part-time basis. They then have to decide whether to accept a different (and usually lesser) role that can be done part-time or return to full-time work despite their wishes.

But there is another option: job sharing. If an employer is open to the idea, another employee can be appointed and the role can be shared. This has the advantage of keeping more women in leadership positions even if they choose or have to work part-time.

But wait, we haven’t fixed anything

The problem with job sharing as a solution is that it doesn’t really address the root cause of the problem: inequality in women’s access to work and therefore independence and growth. economic and, on the other hand, men’s access to family and care.

Although job sharing can be a temporary solution to keep women who choose to work part-time in management positions, more is needed to support women’s participation in the labor market after having children or retiring. take care of a parent. Government and employment policies that encourage men to embrace flexible working and parental leave as well as subsidized universal health care are good places to start. When men have more opportunities and less paincharacteristics, in terms of assumptions about their commitment and their performance, to work in a flexible way, women then have the will to engage in paid work and to pursue their career development. For this to happen, we need better parental leave for fathers everywhere and more support from employees and colleagues in the workplace, both in terms of policies on workplace and changes in workplace culture and norms. It’s not an easy task, but long-term solutions are needed if we have any hope of creating lasting change.

A farewell note

I would also like to point out that discussing flexible working (and complaining) is a luxury and a privilege – not everyone can work flexible, and it can often be a middle or upper class privilege to discuss. Moreover, not all families are the same, and much of this work assumes a heteronormative mother-father family arrangement, making it difficult to generalize beyond the prototypical family configuration.

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