Women and Flexibility in the Workplace
Every working mother, at least once, dreamt about coming to work at 7 a.m., and leaving at 15 p.m. to have an opportunity to pick up her kid from school. Every working woman, at least once, dreamt about having 10-hour working days and having Fridays off. If company allowed their employees have the schedule, which fit to their lifestyle best, would the company win from it? Kathleen Christensen believes that flexible workplaces are the win-win relationships between employer and employee, in which the employee gets a more convenient work schedule, and employer gets employees, who are more deeply engaged in working process.
The paper will find out why Kathleen Christensen assumes that a flexible schedule for women in the workplace is a social and fundamental issue. The paper will also identify the factors that have affected women’s flexibility in the workplace throughout the history. Additionally, the factors that affected women’s payment in the workforce will be evaluated in the paper. Finally, the paper will hypothesize possible changes for women in the workplace within the next 10 years.
Flexibility of Women in the Workplace is a Social and Structural Issue
As Katherine Christensen reckons, the career paths should not prevent the personal life of people. However, the majority of careers are still the straight-line road, which makes impossible for an employee to have the qualitative family time what writing service online writes as well. By studying the needs of working mothers, Christensen found out that these mothers were not only ones, who needed the flexibility at workplace. Older employees, religious people, former military, and people with disabilities also prefer to have flexibility at workplace. Finally, it seemed that every group of people prefers the flexibility at workplace. People are willing to work hard, but they also need to have a full-fledged life. Single woman, who often has to work harder than privileged groups of women, needs the flexibility too. Their personal life is also deserves to be respected. Katherine Christensen’s organization also found out the matter of flexibility is not only in time schedule, but also in tempo and workload distribution. The flexibility can provide the opportunity of not only a full-fledged life, but also perform a higher level and productivity at work. Katherine Christensen says, “If add up all the millions of people…, we have one whopping problem — the need to lead productive work lives and still lead satisfied and productive personal lives”. In this saying, it is the first part of the answer that shows why she believes that flexibility of women in the workplace is a social and structural issue. The second part of this answer in her conviction is that if the above mentioned forms of flexibility are implemented properly, it will increase the performance at the expense of highly engaged and motivated personal, and as a consequence, would reduce costs, paid time off, turnover of personal, as well as reduce the costs for recruiting and training new personnel.
Factors that Affect Women’s Flexibility in the Workplace
Women give birth to children; they nourish and bring them up. Working mothers face the necessity to leave sick children at home unattended, or take the sick list, which the employer cannot approve. Such modern technologies as washing machine, dishwashing machine, microwave and etcetera, are in a great help in housekeeping chores, but nobody can replace the mother in childcare, as well as nobody looks after her child when she is at work. The study that lasted 20 years, during which 89,000 children from the age of 7 to 17 were observed, claims that children of working mothers have 3 times higher chances of having accidents and sickness like asthma. Moreover, these children’s accidents, injuries, poisoning, and asthma attacks happened 2 times more often when mothers were at work. One more problem arises from inability of mothers to do their work at high performance, when all their thoughts are about the child, who is left at home, unattended. Therefore, it is obvious that working mothers need a more flexible schedule in order to increase their productivity. However, there is still a topical problem of different societal expectations from wives compared to husbands, and mothers compared to fathers.
Factors that Affected Women’s Payment
According to the official Bureau of Labor Department statistics reports, in the 1950s, women were paid approximately 60% on average of what men were paid; in 1990s that figure was 72 %, and in 2000, it was only 73 %. Nowadays, it is approximately 77%. Thus, there is a 9% difference in paying that nobody could explain, taking into account the jobs that women do, the level of education that they have, or the years that women spent in the workforce.
As studies show, although discrimination has decreased over the past 20 years, there is a number of evidence, which points out that discrimination still exists between men and women’s paying. Some factors that affect women’s paying is listed below.
According to an AAUW report, women still are outlined into “pink-collar” working places, which influence the average level of their wages. Analysis of the Department of Education data showed that women are “overwhelmingly clustered in low-wage, low-skill fields”. For instance, the report says that 87% workers in the childcare industry, and 86% workers in the health care industry, are women.
A lot of women lose their job or interrupt their working time in the well-paid workforce because of family responsibilities. According to IWPR, a woman that has underage children is more likely will have a low-paid job or fewer working hours. By the way, it is opposite to the men; a married man with children is more likely to have a well-paid job or longer working hours. Interruption for childbirth and care often makes women’s earring potential lower. According to AAUW, the woman, who did not take maternal leave, has higher wages than those mothers that took a time out from work force.
It is essential to note that women choose their jobs under influence of circumstances, and in prejudiced environment. Therefore, factors that influence their decisions are: discrimination, a lack of women-friendly policies, and different societal expectations for married women.
Hypothesis for the Future Workplace for Women
In the next ten years, the tendency of raising women’s earning potential will remain. Many employers already realized that flexible working schedule has a number of advantages. They understand that woman will not make mistakes, and will work more productively if she knows that her children are safe and sound. The development of modern technologies will continue to make life of the working mothers easier. With development of modern technologies, the quantity of women that work distantly as accountants, programmers, designers, writers, translators, or teachers, will rise in times. As women take over more and more traditionally masculine professions, the men will also become gradually engaged in traditionally feminine ones. It will become possible due to new technologies that make the childcare and health maid industry less stressful and physically exhausting for men. Moreover, the society is changing and now there are a lot of fathers, who take care about children and even take maternal leave. As a view of society changes, the stereotypes will change too.
Women have already proven to be a driving force in the workplace. They went a long way from having no rights to having some of them, and eventually, they will have all rights they need. Katharine Christensen’s belief that flexibility in the workplace is a social and structural issue is absolutely right. Women are not the only ones, who need flexibility at the workplace. Time is changing; new modern technologies already gave to people an ability of organizing their time much more convenient than it was possible ten years ago. Therefore, there is no hesitation that in 10 years from now, women will have equal rights with men, and other duties in everything, e.g. wages, childcare, housekeeping, and in the workplace.
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