REGISTER NOW TO ATTEND Warrior Women at Work is a unique, interactive Women’s Leadership event designed by Women in the City in partnership with ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. The evening will bring together senior female leaders from a variety of backgrounds to share, discuss, compare and contrast their leadership challenges. Our Keynote Speaker will […]
Women are a key part of a growing contingent workforce of freelancers, consultants and part-timers. Despite numerous government policies to attract more mothers back into the workplace, retention is still a significant struggle.
To find out why this is the case, John Williams, Head of Marketing at Instant Offices, explores how employers can tackle retention issues and attract workforce of mothers.
Several data collected indicates working mothers who return part-time, combining professional careers with raising a family, are increasingly frustrated by the type of space they work in. The research shows that the modern workplace often fails to cater for their needs as they face the pressures of combining busy working lives with lifestyle and family obligations.
Blending lifestyle and work for working mums
According to UniSpace, lifestyles and workplaces are blending together, as the working day demands more of our time and technology encourages an “always available” work culture. For mothers, in particular, Office designers have started to recognise the pressure to achieve a lifestyle and workplace balance – particularly for those who are in part-time roles and arguably have to juggle time more than ever before
The data from WorkingMums.co.uk indicates that the number of female workers seeking part-time work, at all levels of the company, is increasing rapidly, but that the number of available opportunities is failing to increase at the same rate.
What do the numbers say?
From a survey of over 2000 women, it shows nearly one in five (18%) UK working mothers have been forced to leave their jobs because a flexible working request has been turned down.
Breaking down the statistics, around 12% said their employer did not even seem to consider their request at all, and over a quarter (27%) said the reason given for turning down the request was not one which is allowable under flexible working legislation.
A further 41% on maternity leave said the refusal of flexible working would mean they might not return to their job, while 50% said they had not even discussed flexible working before going on maternity leave. In fact, a whopping over half of (60%) of women have admitted to changing jobs after maternity leave.
The survey also shows the availability of flexible working is the key career development issue for working mums, with homeworking being valued highly, particularly for those wanting to work full-time. Other barriers included childcare costs – half of women currently on maternity leave said childcare costs could prevent them from returning to work.
The rise of female workspaces
The growth of the contingent workforce has been one of the key drivers behind the move towards coworking. The rise of female-specific coworking spaces is a significant extension to this trend and highlights some of the limitations of conventional space for female workers.
Due to the lack of flexibility, the introduction of female only workspaces such as The Wing, a US based women-only workspace have been created to cater for busy mothers and women by featuring facilities from onsite creches, childminding to gyms, hairdressers and cafes.
While these spaces may initially be viewed as coworking spaces, their ultimate objective is to become networks that facilitate female entrepreneurship and support women at every stage of their journey.
Creating a balanced workplace
Following responses from a survey by Instant Offices, here are some tips that employers should consider in creating a balanced workplace for all employees:
- Flexible Policies that benefit all parents: Offering a number of ‘family days’ for both mum and dad to attend assemblies and doctor’s appointments, etc… would enable a fairer system for all involved.
- Choice of Mobile Working Options: Flexible working with multiple offices/sites and 4G connectivity would greatly help allow fully mobile working for parents who are on the go.
- Work-life by balance and flexibility for all employees: Providing company-sponsored childcare schemes that would include on-site childcare would improve quality and offer a more practical solution. This includes providing more private space to facilitate phone calls to carers, more flexible hours to work around pick up/drop off hours, and a change in working hours during long summer holidays.
Providing integration of workplace and lifestyle elements in the workplace helps to alleviate pressure on work/life balance – and brings to light recognition of the demands the working day places on them.
Warrior Women at Work is a unique, interactive Women’s Leadership event designed by Women in the City in partnership with ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. The evening will bring together senior female leaders from a variety of backgrounds to share, discuss, compare and contrast their leadership challenges.
Our Keynote Speaker will be Major General Susan Ridge, the first female to hold the rank of major general in the British Army. A solicitor, she served as Director General of the Army Legal Services Branch from September 2015 to July 2019.
Susan will be joined by a panel made up of:
- Annette Andrews, HR Director, Lloyd’s
- Claire Bowler, Partner, Head of the Insurance Sector, Head of International Claims Team, DWF and a Women in the City, Woman of Achievement Category Award Winner
- Commandant Philippa Lorimer MBE, Commanding Officer, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps)
|Date:||25 September 2019|
|Location:||The Old Library, Lloyd’s, One Lime Street, EC3M 7HA|
|Time:||18.30 – 20.30|
|18.30||Mix & Mingle Reception|
|19.00||Welcome and Introductions|
|Keynote Speaker and Panel Interview|
This event is open to women and men. Refreshments will be served.
The evening is brought to you in partnership with:
|ABF The Soldiers’ Charity was formed in 1944, at the height of World War Two. Its purpose has not changed since that day: to ensure that all soldiers, veterans and their immediate families can live a life of independence and dignity.
While there is a British Army, there will be The Soldiers’ Charity.
And is sponsored by:
A recent study by learning & development training provider, The Hub Events, has revealed that women in the UK are experiencing an epidemic of self-doubt.
90% of UK women admitted to feeling inadequate or incompetent at work, and 73% don’t feel they deserve their current success.
Of these, 17% said that they experience these feelings often or all the time.
These findings are particularly staggering as the responses came from 1,000 UK adults who are currently employed and have at least 3 years’ experience in their field of work.
‘Imposter Syndrome’ is a psychological pattern which causes chronic self-doubt and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, often despite repeated success and accomplishments.
Of the women surveyed, only 27% were aware of ‘Imposter Syndrome’, however most respondents said they had experienced its effects.
Over half of the women surveyed (51%) admitted to experiencing the kinds of intrusive thoughts that come with ‘Imposter Syndrome’.
Of those experiencing intrusive thoughts;
- 37% believe it is only due to luck/chance that they have achieved success
- 1 in 4 (24%) think that one day their boss or colleagues will realise they are under qualified (despite experience/qualifications)
- 1 in 4 (24%) think they only got a job or promotion because the workplace was ‘short on candidates’
- 15% don’t think they deserve the praise or compliments that they receive about their success at work
How do we stop the crisis of self-doubt?
Good mental health is crucial to a happy and successful career and personal life, and sufferers of ‘Imposter Syndrome’ may be at increased risk of anxiety – so what can employers do to eliminate it?
- 3 in 5 (60%) respondents want to see more regular positive & helpful feedback on staff performance
- 44% want employers to create a more open environment where staff are encouraged to talk about the challenges they face
- 43% believe providing adequate coaching & mentors for staff will help
- 2 in 5 (41%) want to ensure management staff are trained to assist with their employees’ anxieties and self-doubt
- 35% think employers should provide access to mental health services
Christine Macdonald, Director of The Hub Events, said;
Despite having relevant skills, experience and qualifications, some women still feel overwhelmed by the feeling that they will one day be exposed as a ‘fraud’. The burden of this worry can end up holding them back.
Simply talking about the fact that ‘Imposter Syndrome’ exists, and that it’s a lot more common than we think, could be a huge relief to people who are gripped by these self-doubts.
Organisations can help a lot by encouraging openness, opportunities to develop and realistic expectations. They can also help by ensuring their management staff are all fully trained to mentor and assist employees and understand the importance of positive feedback.
Despite being nearly two decades into the 21st Century women still experience sexual harassment in the workplace. No, it shouldn’t happen, men need to behave better, but it does and making a complaint, let alone taking the matter further, can be difficult, traumatic even.
Here are some organisations you can contact that may be able to help.
USEFUL HELPLINES AND WEBSITES
Rights of Women – specific sexual harassment help line
List of Law Centres
YES Law – specifically for employer/employee issues
If you want to record incidents, try Talk to Spot, a website and App that’s secure. No “human” sees what you’re saying, but it’s a way of getting it off your chest and ensures you have all incidents recorded. You can also record what you see happening to others.
Some useful tips when reporting sexual harassment
- Very strict time limits apply. You have only 3 months from the date of the discrimination to start a claim in the employment tribunal and only 6 months in relation to education or goods and services.
- If you’re a member of a union get in touch with your Union Representative.
- Check your house insurance for legal expenses insurance (an underused resource).
If you’ve experienced harassment and have (or haven’t) brought a claim against your employer, please share any tips or experiences (good, bad and ugly) you have with us and we’ll add them (anonymously if that’s your choice) to this page.
Research conducted by professional training company Roar Training has uncovered the current state of inequality in the workplace. Evidence-based practical steps from the company aim to combat inequality and help both men and women become better allies.
The study of 600 employees from across the globe revealed that 54% of women believe that their gender has negatively affected their career progression.
In fact, 47% of men don’t believe that women are treated equally in the workplace, and 31% have experienced a co-worker being treated unfairly because of her gender.
The research collated by Roar Training’s founder Kirsty Hulse and Marketing Analyst Sarah Gurbs aims to highlight the issues women face at work and provide evidence-based practical steps for men and women to identify what it means, and how to be a positive ally.
How do women currently perceive inequality in the workplace?
- 54% of women believe that their gender has negatively affected their career progression.
- 51% of women report a general sense of wanting to “be believed” when they discuss or report inequality.
- 27% of female respondents have been actively supported by a male coworker when being treated unfairly in the workplace. However, 56% were not actively supported and 17% unsure.
- 92% of women want an open dialogue, where issues can be addressed together, discussed on a case by case basis.
How do men currently perceive inequality in the workplace?
- 31% have experienced a co-worker being treated unfairly because of her gender.
- 64% of male respondents said that female co-workers are offered the same opportunities as them and 10% believe their female co-workers are offered more.
- A large majority (91%) respond that gender equality is either important, or extremely important to them. However only 71%, actively support gender equality in the workplace.
Commenting on the findings Kirsty Hulse, Founder of Roar Training said
The route to both achieving gender parity in the workplace, and ensuring those within businesses feel their is a commitment to this is undoubtedly nuanced, complex and subjective. This research suggests there is an agreed starting point when addressing the issue of gender equality in the workplace.
There is seemingly no “rule” as to whether sexist behaviour ought to be openly called out, or the role of male allies is to facilitate positive change in the background. This is entirely subjective to the individual, and seemingly differs depending on which stage of their careers they are in. Based on this, the most effective male allies are those whom discuss openly their biases, actively listen to their female coworkers and ask how their female colleagues would best like to address these issues.
- Listen and believe what is being reported. Many women reported that their male co-workers do not “believe” how they feel, which is supported by a disparity between female reporting how they feel in the workplace, and male perceptions.
- Be awareness of bias that may be informing actions and decisions is cited as important for both men and women to begin working towards true gender parity.
- Create an open dialogue so that issues can be addressed according to a specific individuals needs.