Women Are Different, So Why Don’t FlexTime Policies Reflect This?Posted: December 20, 2008
I had a conversation the other day with a co-worker of mine who attended a Women’s Only Conference for young women professionals. She’s a few months pregnant with her first child and was lamenting to me how disappointed she was in the seminars.
It might have been her hormones kicking in, but I, too, got a bit riled up as I listened to her talk about a seminar she attended called “work-life balance” which was primarily aimed at women with children who sought flexible work schedules so they could spend more time at home with their kids.
“What if you don’t want to work from home when you have kids,” my co-worker asked me. “What if you want to work full-time from the office? What then?”
Or better yet, I responded, “What if you don’t have kids and you still can’t quite get the work-life balance thing balanced (for lack of a better word)?” We then proceeded to talk about how we both can’t get around to cleaning up the apartment and how she recently outsourced that task because it never got done. As a sidebar, I’m not quite that bad.
But all this got me to thinking…
In all of the mania to protect those working mothers with children guard their sanity, have we forgotten about those unsung professional women so busy working we sometimes forget to have kids and also struggle with balance?
While most women my age that I went to college or high school with have already had kids and are opting to stay home or work part-time, there are still a number of young professional women (especially my peers at work) who are holding off or just starting the process right now. They are a different breed of women who spent enough years cultivating a career that they aren’t quite ready to let a munchkin (however endearing) deter their professional advancement.
Why aren’t these women being better accommodated for?
I work for a company that practices a pretty generous flextime policy towards working mothers and employees, in general. I‘ve also worked for places not so generous who paid lip service to this notion but didn’t carry through on the delivery. Having said this, I feel extremely grateful for my present set-up where women and men are encouraged to have a life outside of work and also nurtured professionally.
I do think that it would be nice if my workplace had an onsite childcare facility that was partially subsidized. It would prove beneficial for those mothers who wanted to work full-time, but were also seeking a more flexible, economically doable solution in terms of daycare. With the cost of childcare on the rise and most families opting for alternative approaches which still lend themselves to women working 3/4 or 1/2 of the time, it’s something that sends the message to employees that companies get it and they are willing to put their $ where their soapbox is.