A society that puts equality… ahead of freedom will end up with neither.
— Milton Friedman (US economist)
The same is perhaps true for equality between men and women at work. The struggle should not be focused towards equality of pay or equality at work for the two genders but rather for the freedom of work for women.
Women have played will continue to play the traditional role have been defined and for quite some time it would be true that women would be ones bearing children and nurturing their families. It is not an imposition but the human instinct.
The companies and employers have to facilitate the working women and working mothers with the freedom of choice thus enabling them to bring more stability to the society.
Women have a major role in shaping the society and the future, if the employers have to help in building a better future for us all the power of choice in employment must be available to every working mother.
To attain freedom and satisfaction in life, flexibility in work and family life is a must.
Freedom comes from choice, the ability to choose what works best for us. The companies and future employers have to provide that choice it must be a policy for the companies who believe in the freedom of choice.
For some families the mothers have a choice to work or not though for much of the middle class all round the world and for single mothers this is a not a choice it is a requirement a daily struggle to meet the ends meet or take care of the financial needs of a family.
Our workplace today is not conducive and non-supporting to women who want to manage their family and career. Why is it so that a woman has to rethink her priorities to rejoin their career after motherhood?
What can the government and the future workplace culture do to not only make the transition back to workplace easier but also not to let women opt out of their careers in the first place?
A major shift in perspective of employers is required. Some of the companies in the 21st century have taken legitimate steps to further this cause and help women with flexibility at work but this needs to be a major movement not only in one country but elsewhere in the developing countries where the situation would be at similar crossroads soon enough.
In an interesting survey carried by Sylvia Ann Hewlett in 2001, she quotes in an article:
“Thirty-three percent of high-achieving women are childless at ages 41-55, and this figure rises to 42 percent in corporate America and 43 percent in academe.”
Could this be related to the work pressure or pressures of a demanding career? A full time career and the busyness of life have kept many a women from delaying motherhood to a later stage in their lives. Women delay having a child because they know or believe that their career could be at a standstill or somehow perish if they started a family. Could this scenario change if the choices are available to women upfront? This can change if the women know that getting back in to the workforce is not a struggle anymore. Or if the mothers want to work part-time and flex-time they know that they would be welcome and not be as apprehensive as we are today.
The revolution is already happening, the freedom to make a choice for your career is with you. But it is also the responsibility of the employers in this century to step forward and be a part of the revolution and support the demand of working flexible hours and part-time through programs that support women – not only in one country but all through the world efforts are still needed on war footing to empower women and thereby to help strengthen the society.
What needs to change in workplace policies are the options and freedom to choose to work flexible hours, to have and maintain a good work-life balance for a stable family and workplace environment.
By providing such choices we are empowering the society – towards balance and happiness.
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) report, Sex and Power: Who Runs Britain? 2007, says, “asking for flexible working still spells career death for too many women in today’s workplace, and as a consequence women with caring responsibilities all too often have to ‘trade down’ to keep working. Extending the right to ask for flexible working to everyone in the workplace would change that culture and enable more women to reach the top“.