“She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn’t take them along. “
Today, I would like to put the focus on a topic concerning many “business girls“ and which we might face ourselves at some point in our lives, when it comes to combining family life with a career.
When tiping in the simple search term combination “working women”, a blog with the title ”freakonomics“ instantly caught my attention. The blogger Daniel Hamermesh mentions Italy’s labor-force participation rate of women aged between 25 and 54 recently having increased by more than 20%.
He does not think that those women will “retire from their long-time careers, and thus [finds it] unlikely that they will be available to care for grandchildren full time”, which apparently has become a new social norm in Italy at the present time. But before even talking about grandchildren, we need to get our daughters and sons settled.
So, how is it that mothers can handle the two “C”s in their life: children and career?
According to Heide B. Malhotra in “Spotlight on Working Women”, the five most popular management, professional and related positions among women are to be found in the following fields: public relations, human resources, education, medical and health services as well as social and community services.
Regardless of a woman’s specific profession, I wanted to know which difficulties working mums have to face in their daily life and I was particularly interested in finding out if there were firms that considered themselves as being particularly family-friendly and if they offered mothers specific support when it came to raising their kids in a working environment.
I had a look at an article entitled “Family-friendly workplaces” which I found in the BBC’s emotional health section, in order to know which criteria were to be taken into account when it comes to finding an appropriate employer.
Part-time or flexible working hours as well as the option of working from home were stated as two possibilities of managing both Cs. Furthermore, workplace nursery or other ways of organizing childcare were stated. From the author’s view, it is also important that the employer offers equal career opportunities for both sexes. Finally, the possibility of a working parents’ group was also mentioned in the article.
This particular point reminded me of another project I had come across on the page of the initiative “Deutschland – Land der Ideen” which presents original ideas from various fields conveying a positive image of Germany as a business and science site.
The project I am aiming at is called ”Working Moms e.V.“. This is an association bringing employed mothers together in order to support one another in their daily routine. It moreover encourages professionally successful women to start a family and thus counteract Germany’s declining birthrate.
In order to become a member of “Working Moms”, you have to be a mother, share the motto “Pro child. Pro career” and be ambitiously employed for at least 30 hours per week, whatever this may mean. You have to be recommended by a member who will then take you to one of the monthly meetings with the other working moms.
If you are interested in learning about the 100 most family-friendly companies selected in 2010, you will find a list here.
Through the research for this article, I found that there is lots of information and support out there for women who do not want to give up neither their career nor their family life.
I hope I could give you an incentive on how and where to find further information on the subject. In my opinion, the most important step would be to unite. If families and other women in similar positions stick together and cooperate along with support within the work environment, it creates the opportunity to form a network of exchanging ideas and possibilities (e.g. through the creative use of IT to allow more flexibility within working hours). This way we can come a long way in combining two important aspects of our life. The two ”C”s can thus be complemented by a third one: Community.