A recent study carried out by the Observer has found that some of the UK's top private companies have no female representation on their boards.
Within the study, over half of the 100 private companies, although only represented by men, do embrace transparency and publish details of their boards.
In their defence, one of the private companies, GALA Coral insists that even though there is no female representation the directors had been selected on their calibre, not gender.
One company who admitted their organisation still "had work to do", was Virgin trains and suggested they needed to improve gender equality.
A new survey carried out by Mumsnet has discovered that more than a third of working mums would consider quitting their jobs as the cost of childcare proves to be too high. In this climate it is simply not economical enough.
The study questioned around 1000 mums and it found that already over 10% had decided to quit due to childcare expenses.
Interestingly over a third of mums spent their entire earnings on childcare which was almost the equivalent of a mortgage and other living expenses. Sadly a fifth admitted that once they had gone through the process of finding a job, they were forced to turn it down when the reality of childcare costs was identified.
A large outcome from the findings felt that the government was simply not doing enough to support women back to the workplace and that in this country we have one of the largest childcare costs in the whole of Europe. It was even suggested that some of the women would forgo other benefits if they could receive support with childcare and assist them back to the workplace. There is a huge amount of work this government needs to do to encourage more mums back to work.
About a year ago I wrote about how I was nervous I was, about starting a “proper” job post maternity leave. I’d worked on a couple of six month office contracts prior to that, which were very helpful in easing me back into the “professional working mentality” after a few years of getting used to having a little person be so dependent on me.
My first day in my current role was a huge leap of faith for me, and extremely stressful, so much so that I questioned the validity of my decision to go back to work full-time. Mummy-guilt abound; I was seriously considering packing in all in after the first day, to stay at home and ‘be there’ for my child, who, co-incidentally would be at school all day! Go figure…
I won’t lull you into a false sense of security by claiming it was all plain sailing! On top of dealing with home issues, mummy-guilt, a new way of life and routines, I had a new boss and colleagues to impress. At work I was my own person, and had to present myself as such. I tried to keep childcare issues to a minimum, and present myself as professionally as possible.
After the first month or so, my self-induced guilt was started to wane. It turns out that it was just like riding a bike… On the child front, the new routine was working out terrifically once I’d given myself a break, and realised that when help is offered to grab it with both hands!
I took advantage of the school Breakfast Club which allows early drop-offs, enabling me to get to my “London days” at a reasonable time when my hubby couldn’t do the morning drop-off. We were also lucky enough to get a great childcare provision in place for after school which suited all parties, but most importantly of all, my child was happy. Once we’d set ourselves a few ground rules which everyone was OK with, we soon slipped into a workable routine. I would urge anyone thinking about making that big leap back into work after Maternity Leave to go with your gut instinct. In my case (and I would suggest the majority of others), your children’s welfare and happiness is the primary decision. After that, my advise would be don’t beat yourself up, and go for it!
Mary Freemantle (Feb-12) May not be reproduced without prior approval from the author
Posted in Back to work mummy
Back in the late 60′s women accounted for just 14% of employment income. This has risen to nearly 40% since then.
A report carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies identified that there has been a “major shift in the gender composition of employment income”. Interestingly, since the late 60′s, female employment has risen and men’s employment has actually fallen.
Women in households have earned more over the decades compared to men, who’s work has hardly increased.
Two significant decades have contributed to our change in working patterns. During the 1980′s we saw the heavy industry sectors break up which were heavily male concentrated. This went on to change the male employment workforce significantly. Then during the 1990′s saw the introduction of the service sector which offered more part-time roles allowing women to work more and more.
The Government boosted opportunities for a proportion of families around 2002 when they introduced tax credits. This increased income for women encouraging women to work more.
We now see a changing future again towards some women working. With tax credits cuts and less childcare it seems that more women may be pushed out of the workforce. With the Governments austerity policies we can see an impact on women’s unemployment which is now at a 23 year high. This equates to an impact in women’s finances.
Posted in Back to work mummy
How on earth will I Cope? My brain has stopped working and I won’t remember anything! I will miss my kids soooo much….
These were some of my fears, in fact I had a catalogue of them!
Apart from the actual physicality of going back to work, what other obstacles get in the way or are you worrying about;
How to apply for a job, How to sell yourself?, Does my CV look right? How to fill in the gaps? Oh my goodness, I have an interview!!! How not to fluff the interview….
To help allmumkind with a fact finding exercise, can you please let me know your thoughts/concerns/worries/fears?
Thanks again for your continued support
This day hung over me like a black cloud for most of my maternity leave if I am honest. I am a worrier by nature so this new experience of going back to work, with the responsibility of a baby to add to the equation made my stomach churn….Sound’s a little drastic I know.
My plan first time round was to take the 6 months off as I believed life would pretty much be the same and it would all slot into place..I couldn’t have been more wrong. As soon as my son was born I never felt the same and found it hard to function, let alone cope with a baby! The thought of entering the world of work in a matter of months filled me with dread. It wasn’t just the changes I experienced becoming a mum, it was the thought of leaving him and even worse with someone else.
I worried about this a lot and one day came clean with my husband and presented him with my fear and anxieties. We hatched a plan, reviewed our finances and decided we could just about manage until our son was 1 and then I had to return to work….phew! I still had to go back at some point.
My increased maternity time I relished every moment. My worry and panic subsided a little as I had “time” to pick up those feelings in the future. I was not going to waste a moment!
I enjoyed every minute of my “extra” time but as we hurtled towards a few months prior to returning, those pangs of guilt, dread and panic came back again. It wasn’t going away and I had to accept it would be my turn shortly and join my peers and friends who were working and juggling their family lives. This is what other mums had warned me about. I found it really hard whichever way I dressed it up or down.
“That” day approached fast and to lessen the pain I treated myself to new work clothes – a new me. Helped a little but the reality was I didn’t want to leave him. Yes the money was a huge plus….financial independance again, holidays etc “I am giving him the best start in life” “Better to provide for a easier life than constantly worry about money”. These where the conversations I would have with myself regularly.
The day came and I thought I would never survive, but I did. Plenty of women do. It’s hard and emotional but if you are organised, have selected the best childcare which works for you, don’t beat yourself up too much and try and select the positives from the working/balancing life then you will get through it. It also made it a little easier when I had some close friends to lean on when it was all too much….
If I could get through a good week without dropping a “ball” and more importantly no sickness from nursery, including baby and I then I had succeeded! The biggest reward of picking my son up from nursery and the time we spent when I wasn’t at work was worth it…..I will never forget those cherished times of indulgence…
Oh, I remember this well….
Not long after baby number 1 was born I was already “dreading” the thought of work and quite adamant I wasn’t going back to my old job. The hours, the commute, the pressure, the “absolutely” non-flexible working policy and also the not fitting in anymore because I simply couldn’t go out and play after work – every night! This was several years ago and believe me you were expected to return quickly to the same job and carry on as if nothing had changed. Leave at 5, and you were not pulling your weight or “doing a half day”!.
It was time to move on and reinvent oneself….
Armed with super confidence (haven’t a clue were this came from) and a mission to work flexibly I re-entered the marketplace with full force and a new “identity”. Well not literally, just my bundle of joy in mind and my desire to balance the act. I charged into the City to find that job and had a list of opportunities to explore.
As I delivered presentations, sat through panel interviews I was getting closer to the “mum” subject and the questions to follow…..This was to be a challenge!
Demonstrating my skills and experience was easy but to think on my feet (erm, I am sure I left bits of brain at home!) and convince potential employers I could “juggle it all” was a real challenge. I hadn’t really considered how much my perception of work had changed and my ability to convince, reassure and demonstrate what a working mum does was pretty difficult. I hadn’t prepared for it and that awkward questions around “hours”? Back then home working was a relatively new feature in some jobs and this was to offer me the flexibility I yearned for.
Thankfully my experience assisted me well and I was offered a few of the positions but with a caveat outlining my availability as and when needed. It came with the territory.
What resonates now and didn’t then was how much my priorities had truly shifted and how I meticulously had to communicate this. Being from a sales background I leapt into my pitch with some ease, but had a steep step ahead of me to convince.
I suppose what I am trying to say is that I am sure we will all find our feet and our way but for me I hadn’t factored in that within such a short space of time I had changed and I wasn’t approaching my career the same as before….I now had to perform my working life with an added responsibility…a”baby” and if I was to keep my position and my head above water I had to start pedalling and HARD!
I couldn’t resist writing about the Government’s proposed changes to update workplace regulations – additional “flexibility”!. You may have sensed, this is quite close to my heart.
Firstly, I must highlight the groans which I can already hear quite loudly from “some” employers, not all may I add. And yes, I agree small businesses will feel the pinch, however in the grand scheme of the things I feel that additional flexibility sprinkled across our society is what we so need to bring us into the modern world we all want to be part of. Some concerns have already been echoed by The Federation of Small Businesses “warning of the rule changes which may complicate current rules and may be a burden to businesses wishing to expand in a tough economic climate”.
Now before we get too excited, the Government will begin consulting on “plans” to give both parents an extra month off during the first year of baby’s life. The proposed date for introducing this is 2015. They may not actually even happen?
If they do go ahead, the way in which I interpret this is that the new flexible working plans will not only support parents with young families but anyone with “caring” responsibilities outside of their job. This would be a huge benefit to many people and their families in this country if it does become policy.
Looking at this from an employer’s perspective, it needn’t be considered a complete disadvantage for them. An example of my own experience when returning to work from maternity leave very early, as this was mainly for reasons of not wanting to impact my own career aspirations, but actually support a small business during an economic downturn. At the time, this policy would have worked a treat! I was very aware that I needed to return to work and at that time I could have concentrated on a few essential inputs to support the business and then move back out of my role to continue with my maternity leave. Perhaps this is what some businesses would actually benefit from without panicking that the world will crumble if a key employee’s skills/knowledge is absent for a period of time? I appreciate not always ideal for some businesses.
I really do think life has moved forward in our society. So many women return to work after their maternity leave nowadays and fathers do play a part in caring for children and domestic duties more than they ever did. I think the additional flexibility for dad’s is positive, however, I believe this will be harder to implement as it may simply result in some damaging their career’s. This has been highlighted from many business experts and also men’s “ego’s” may get in the way! I am not sure all men (especially if the main breadwinner) are going to take advantage of this. Again, really will depend on the father’s career, company and I think the individual. A good benefit to have though..
The first year of a babies life changes almost daily and it is a time to be enjoyed and is very precious. I guess the reason I am in full support for more flexibility is that it can be achieved, sensibly and may in fact assist some families to keep their career responsibilities on track as it certainly doesn’t need to be a “knee jerk” reaction going back to work. This new policy may just help some, not all, however it’s a good step towards supporting their family in what is quite a hectic and pressurised world we live in today…..