Part-Time Work; Still Just for Women?Posted January 13th, 2011 by Valerie Young
MOTHERS changing the conversation @ www.MothersOughtToHaveEqualRights.org
Approximately 2/3 of the part-time workforce is female. This is no coincidence. As women continue to perform most family carework, looking after others may drive down the hours they have available for paid employment. Lacking access to child care, or lacking affordable child care remains a significant problem in many households. The presence or absence of another parent or adult in the house can be a factor, as can the work obligations of that second adult, if present.
It doesn’t have to be this way. A recent New York Times article reports that the Netherlands is seeing an important shift in part-time workers, as more fathers settle in to a four day work week. Gender stereotypes are breaking down, as first women, and now men, are supported by both the law and cultural attitudes favoring greater parity between paid work and family time. An accountant interviewed for the article said: “More men want time with the family, but without giving up their careers. And more women want careers, but without giving up too much time with the family.” Consequently, 75% of Dutch women work part-time, and 23% of Dutch men do. Another 9% of Dutch men work a 40 hour week in four days. Promotions and professional success are still realistic goals, and employers attract and retain talent by offering flexibility in work hours and location.
Could it happen here? There’s no reason why not. Changing our thinking, our attitudes and expectations is where it starts. Difficult, obviously, but not impossible. It’s a question of how badly we want it.
‘Til next time,
Your (Wo)Man in Washington