What working women really want

Congratulations to Netmums’ Great Work Debate for revealing that 88% of mothers of young children would prefer to work part-time but feel stymied by lack of money, choice, and opportunity. The survey was designed to give the Government an insight into the day to day situation of working families and help shape future  employment policy . It makes fascinating reading, not least because it busts a few out-dated and clichéd myths –  pointing out in black and white for example that the “playground politics” which decreed that working mothers and full-time mothers were not at war with each other. It’s also a refreshing insight into what families actually want .  Anecdotally we all know women who are working all hours just to survive, and , to add insult to injury, are being told they are lucky to have a job. Equally we all know women who are desperate to earn more money and use the skills they spent decades acquiring, yet aren’t in a position to work 40 hours a week.  Now we have the facts and figures to back that up: Here are the survey’s main findings which Netmums hopes will be included in the Government’s Work and Families consultation on Choice and Flexibility  and used to guide future both Government policy and the way employers treat their workforce:
Mothers do not, in general, make a choice about whether to go back to work or stay at home as a full time mum. Choice has been virtually eradicated. The ‘playground politics’, often portrayed by the media, of working versus staying at home does not exist. There are a large number of women who feel they would rather stay at home to look after their own children, but are not able to do so as there is insufficient support available. The most popular work pattern was part time work, yet there are substantive concerns about the quality and availability of part time jobs. Part time jobs that don’t pay enough, are generally low grade and are too few in number Full time jobs are not flexible enough and the benefits of legislation for the rights to flexible working hasn’t filtered through to working mums. Action is needed on the part of Government and employers to reform the workplace if true choice and flexibility are to be achieved.
So how do those views reflect your own life? Would you reduce your working hours if you could or conversely take up a part time job if it was financially viable?  Join the debate and let us know