Flexible Work Hurts Working Mothers
Think twice before taking that telecommuting position: Dwyer Gunn
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2013 1:31 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Amid all the uproar over Marissa Mayer ending telecommuting at Yahoo, the biggest concern of many was that the new policy would hurt working moms. But studies show it's actually flexible work policies that do the most harm to working moms, writes flex-worker and mom Dwyer Gunn on Slate. In particular, research has shown that alternate career arrangements can result in women making less money per hour and not advancing. Consider Europe, where many countries embrace family-friendly policies like generous paid leave and part-time worker protections—but women in the workforce in those countries are also more likely to have been "mommy-tracked" into less demanding, lower-level, part-time jobs.

That may be because employers are hesitant to hire women if they believe women are more likely to take advantage of such family-friendly policies and be "in and out of the labor force," explains one labor economist. How to combat the problem? More gender equality when it comes to family policies could help—if men start taking paternity leave regularly, the stigma associated with flexible work will be reduced. "Family-friendly policies may be the best way to encourage women to remain in the workforce, but as long as these kinds of alternative arrangements and career paths are overwhelmingly utilized by women and ignored by men, workers will pay a price for taking advantage of them," Gunn writes. Click for her full column.

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Showing 3 of 14 comments
right2dave
Mar 31, 2013 4:19 AM CDT
You wanted a kid.....
Riddler13
Mar 28, 2013 2:13 PM CDT
Among the many legit grievances that women have with corporate life, this one gets no sympathy from me. It seems that women are saying "We should NOT have to choose between family/children and work." My question is "Why not?" I'm not saying it's healthy or pleasant but it is the same choice men have been making for decades. Your gripe shouldn't be with the male-dominated corporate hierarchy but rather with your spouse, your partners (usually men) who aren't stepping up to meet family needs. Women (and men) who are in and out of the workforce should expect fewer promotions, less pay, etc. ANYONE (male or female) who is there, gone, back again, can't make this trip, can't pull that all-nighter, it's too bad. It's a demanding work world with hyper-competitive demands. You (generally speaking) are going to lose out to those who are giving the larger measure. The same way men who are less "committed" lose out to other men who are more committed. Suck it up and decide! I'm for corporate daycare and some other supports but it has definite limits. To all husbands and wives, domestic partners: YOU-CAN"T-DO-IT-ALL. Please stop whining about it.
quaoar
Mar 28, 2013 2:12 PM CDT
Women will figure it out and then straighten it out.