2017 is highly likely to make history as the year when more women than ever ruled major economies and big business, so why is it still the case that childcare remains a default obligation of working females?
As one mum told Financy “The assumption is that it is solely up to the mum to make the compromises/sacrifices between her children and her career. And that is so hard because the trade-offs are enormous and you quite simply cannot do it all!,” said Linda.
While Australia had its first female prime minister nearly a decade ago with Julia Gillard, other nations like Germany, Liberia, Norway, South Korea, the United Kingdom and potentially the United States are already or (again likely) being run by women.
Big businesses like General Motors, the International Monetary Fund, the US Federal Reserve, YouTube and now possibly the United Nations do and could also soon have women at the helm and top of pay scales.
The rise of women in the paid workforce has come about from so many reasons, from higher divorce rates, higher living costs, a reduction in working class factory jobs for men, changes in education, society, birth rates and health statistics showing that women live longer.
While most countries are experiencing this growth, parts of the Middle East and North Africa are lagging the world. Financy reading more on these stats?
By and large when it comes to career opportunities, today’s woman has more available to her than ever before.
Yet is she able to fully capitalise on them without a partner, or support that is ready to help with bringing up baby?
Indeed does she really want to or are those heart strings pulling harder than ever when it comes to childcare?
As many studies show the responsibility of staying at home to care for kids, or moving to flexible or part-time work, tends to rest with the woman in most coupled relationships.
When big career breaks, or opportunities happen, the conversations among women recognise the pressures yet they limit our own potential.
For instance, tell a friend that you have a career option but don’t know if you should take it and she might say; “stay-at-home with the kids because they are only young one”, or “get a nanny or childcare”.
There’s nothing wrong with this. But shouldn’t we be adding to that by suggesting: “Maybe it’s time that your partner scales back their work and takes primary care of kids?”
Or, even “Who’s likely to earn the most, you or your partner?”
The tradeoffs to women who don’t return to paid work are huge financially. It becomes harder to get back into the workforce and move up pay grades.
Then their is the huge disadvantage caused to retirement savings with the average woman already retiring with 50 per cent less in superannuation than men.
Thankfully all of this is slowly changing but it’s still way too slow and the least we can do is to shake up the conversation on the home front and amongst ourselves.