A recent study dealt yet another blow to working mothers everywhere with its finding that men are more likely than women in the workforce to be approved by their superiors to have a more flexible schedule. This holds true even when both sexes request to work from home or adjust working hours to take care of children.
Christin Munsch, an assistant professor of sociology at Furman University, who conducted the research, says the findings reflect how society just expects women to take on the majority of household and child-rearing responsibilities regardless of whether they’re working 60-hour weeks.
“Men’s primary responsibility is to bread-win,” Munsch says. “So when men and women ask to work from home, employers make assumptions about what that time at home will look like.”
She adds that often a supervisor will assume fathers will just throw in a DVD and get back to work. But Mom, she’ll actually pay attention to the kids, take them to the park. You know, take care of the kids.
“Thus, employers might not think they can do both,” she says.
So there you have it. It’s assumed that men are wise enough to make the choice between frivolous chick activities, like raising kids, and get back to those far more important TPS reports.
It’s clearly a no-win for working mamas and caregivers, so ladies, you just keep on trucking and doing what you do. Thanks for that, by the way. If your boss won’t say it, here’s what you might need to hear today: You have two full-time jobs. You work all day, make it look easy and then clock in to your real gig — your babies and your family. And you’re not resentful about it. You slog through work all day just so you can come home and care for your family. Make the dinner. Help with the homework. Do the dishes.
You’ve got this, girl. You’ve got it.
So how should companies fairly address the issue? Take the case-by-case decisionmaking about whether to grant flexible schedules to employees out of the hands of immediate supervisors.
“Companies should adopt objective criteria for flexible work — this way, employers can grant (or deny) requests without letting biases based on gender, parental status or the reason for the request enter into their decision,” Munsch says.
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