By Ben Simmons
Almost two thirds of working mums think men are discriminated against with regard to flexible working, according to a Workingmums.co.uk survey for International Women’s Day.
The survey of over 365 mainly female working parents found that 65% felt men were not given a fair hearing over flexible working.
The survey also showed 43% felt they did over 75% of the domestic chores and childcare. Around 40% of working mums had taken a step back in their career since having children. Only 29% had progressed. The rest had stayed at the same level. Thirty seven per cent of those who responded worked full time and 41% worked part time. The rest were not working.
Women were concerned about the lack of flexible new jobs. A third felt trapped in the job they went on maternity leave from because they could not find a new job which gave them the work life balance they needed. A massive 89% had considered working for themselves to get a better work life balance, although 43% said they couldn’t afford to.
On 27 March at Workingmums LIVE London, its second London flexible jobs fair, Workingmums.co.uk is launching a new Business Zone to give support and advice, including funding advice, to women considering setting up their own business or franchise or seeking
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures and the survey found 28% of working mums felt their children saw them as inspiring role models, while 22% felt their kids thought they were stressed out and exhausted. Most thought that girls were less likely than in the past to think that some jobs were not for them. Some 75% thought things were getting better on this score, but six per cent thought that in recent years girls had become more likely to think that some jobs were more for men than women.
Some 80% of working parents thought children should be educated about work life balance issues to prepare them for the impact on their working life, but most thought this should happen at secondary school. Others felt children should not be held back in what they want to do because of considerations about whether they have a family in the future. The survey also looked at issues like childcare. Almost half used grandparents for childcare. A quarter had no back-up care in the case of an emergency.
“The results of this survey show that, although much progress is being made on flexible working for women, there is concern that men are finding it more difficult to negotiate this,” said Gillian Nissim, founder of Workingmums.co.uk. “This has a knock-on effect on women who, due to the high cost of childcare, may be forced out of work or to work fewer hours than they would like. There is also concern about the lack of new flexible jobs.
“If the Government extends the right to request flexible working to all workers we hope that it will become the norm and businesses will begin to think of flexible working as the default position when recruiting, thus opening up roles to a more diverse talent pool.”
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