A Business Girl’s two “C“s

“She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn’t take them along. “

(Margaret Culkin Banning

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.

6 thoughts on “A Business Girl’s two “C“s

  1. Hi,

    I really enjoyed reading this post! I have an interest in HR related matters as well, and reading this post also helped me to relate it to myself- how i wouls want to balance the 2 Cs. I think the 3rd C you introduced at the end, Community, really managed to bring everything together and made me realise the importance of developing networks with like-minded people.

    Thank you for your post! 🙂

  2. Thank you for writing about that topic. I have to admit that I have been thinkin about exactly that conflict just a few days ago- even though it might be a little early with 21 ;). I think that it is not fair that women are rather in the position that they have to choose between child/family and career. I personally definitely want both Cs and I do not want to cut back. It is great that you came across the possibility of entering a network and how it faciliates things when being in that situation. That is one point I haven´t heard about yet.
    A perfect post for your “A Girl´s Business” blog. Well done!

  3. Besides Mr. B it seems especially woman love commeting you post – I wonder why 😉 I think your topic is well chosen and so well conected to us young women, studying managment, one step before an eventual career. I notice from time to time that the awarenss of that topic has really increased. Its not only career and work has to be combined in the working place – sometimes it startes even sooner: university. As you can read for example on tt.com (http://www.tt.com/csp/cms/sites/tt/%C3%9Cberblick/Chronik/ChronikTirol/2903131-6/kinder-sind-auf-der-universit%C3%A4t-normal-geworden.csp) the topic becomes more and more normal. uni’s offer kindergartens, profs show understanding and still every mother enjoys the “mutterschutzgesetz”.
    Anyway – i don’t want to sound too positve. I want to underline, awareness is rising – but still not enough has be done and women still face the conflict of the “C’s”. I think it’s good that companies and the state takes responsability and become creative with their help! (check:http://www.stern.de/wirtschaft/arbeit-karriere/arbeit/kinderbetreuung-firmen-profitieren-von-betriebsinterner-loesung-529704.html)

  4. Hey, Anna!
    I was very attracted by the picture and the heading of your atticle. The idea is specially great for the “girls business”.

    However,… I feel like you cut the article at the end.

    As I got it, you started with different alternatives a woman can choose, such as: Part-time or flexible working hours, the option of working from home, childcare organization…. and so on. Then you pointed ”Working Moms e.V.“ and I expected that this was the major idea of your post. You did say that the organisation supports women with children and encourages women’s career.
    But How? Do mothers meet and just talk about their problems? Or mothers pay for the center’s service and ”Working Moms e.V. works on how to organize their time? I clicked the link and found some sentences like: ” Es stellt ein Forum dar, in dem sie sich austauschen und gegenseitig helfen können, den zwar anstrengenden, aber zutiefst erfüllenden Weg weiterzugehen und beides zu vereinbaren: Kinder und Karriere.”
    Helfen, helfen…. But I still have no idea how does the organization work.

    If we think about Au pair girl and her help – we can assume – there is a girl who is living with a family, taking care of children when parents work or not at home. So, a potential mom can benefit from such help for she doesnt have to pay that much (30 hours per week = 260 EUR per month) as for a babysitter (6-10 EUR per hour) and can rely on a person who is going to live with a family for one year, from another hand, a mother must be ready to live with a new person and share not only house but also some free time and be ready to come to an agreement if a girl – for example – is ill or have a language class and can not stay with a child on a particular day.

    I do think your topic is very important for when I am thinking about carrer I can think only about Au pair help.
    When I saw your alternative idea – I became curious!!!!!!!! May be some details will be rellevant here)

  5. Hey Garciana!
    No matter what I do – I always end up reading and commenting your wonderful posts 🙂 For me this topic is very important. I still admire how my mom works and cares for her children and all the other stuff which needs to be done every day! As an hommage to all the working mommies out there I can say: THIS is real organization ability! Who seriously succeeds at combining career but also any normal “job” or going to uni while being a mom and caring for children deserves a big applause.
    A friend of mine has an (extremely cute…) daughter and she studies psychology next to being a great mom! She told me that she’s truely thankful for programmes like hers, she’s doing distance learning and manages the two things just well, I admire her a lot for this, thinking of that my studies are sometimes too much for me 😉
    I am sure that I want to have kids later but, as Wanda says, I wouldn’t like to cut back on my career either… how about sharing with the partner ? My parents did it like that. when I was little my mom was working, my dad was with me. When I was about 6 years old and my brother was born they changed and till today I am really glad I had both of them at home with me for some time!

    Thanks Ana for writing about this important topic!

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