Where is the Progress?
Most women quit their careers for one of two reasons: 1) the workplace doesn’t offer the flexibility or support they need to fulfill their many responsibilities and/or 2) they are frustrated by the discrimination they still face. Despite a continued call for change, progress is not being made. Two recent surveys find that things aren’t getting any better. And when it comes to flexibility things are getting worse.
According to the latest Gallup poll, 12% of women feel they have been passed over for a promotion because of their gender and 17% believe they have been denied a raise because of their gender. Only 20% of women are completely satisfied with their pay versus 44% of men.
Last week Moms Corps published the results of its latest survey on workplace flexibility. Among the findings are that fewer people, 67% versus 75% in 2013, report having at least a little bit of flexibility at work. Sixty-four percent, versus 68% in 2013, believe their company would accommodate them if they asked for flexibility. Yet they aren’t likely to ask because almost half (47%) of the men and women surveyed feel that asking for flexibility would hurt their chances at career advancement. So work is becoming less flexible, while 75% of the people surveyed think flexibility is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a job and 47% are willing to give up some of their salary for more flexibility.
Some companies are moving in the right direction. Netflix and Facebook have parental leave policies for men and women, which may help to reduce discrimination. Other companies are embracing flexibility. MITRE Corporation employees can adjust their hours around their children’s schedules. More than 15% of Agilent Technologies employees have non-traditional arrangements like part-time, telecommuting, and job sharing. But referring to these arrangements as non-traditional shows that they are exceptions rather than a new way of working.
We’ve been talking about the need for change for years, yet women continue to experience discrimination at work and neither men nor women have the flexibility they want and in many cases need.
There is progress still to be made; work still to be done!