Why is workplace flexibility a women's issue? Don't blokes have kids, too?
Happy International Women's Day!
I love that workplaces are embracing flexibility so that parents can work the hours and in the spaces that enable families to thrive. We have so much technology to enable agile working. I love being able to work from a cafe, office or my study.
However, flexibility practices are routinely adopted by women and very rarely by women in senior roles. Working flexibly is still seen as a silent signal that you are on the "mummy track" and not the senior manager track.
Many organisations position flexible work as a strategy to attract and retain women, rather than working parents. It got me wondering, why aren't men opting in for flexibility?
And yes, we all know one family where the father takes the bulk of care giving responsibilities and the mother is the predominant bread winner. However, when we aggregate that we still only have 3.5% of men being a stay at home parent and 5% work part time. Yet, 33% of women are staying at home and 43% are working part time. Moreover, working mothers are requesting flexible hours (44%) more than fathers (30%). The statistics are still showing that raising children is predominantly done by women, despite the child/ren usually having two parents (Baxter and Morin).
Yet, fathers that do spend more time on child care are the most satisfied with their relationships with their children (AIFS). I am convinced that the more fathers request flexible arrangements, the more normalised the practice will become and disassociated with the "mummy track".
How do we move the dial on this? I would love to hear your comments.