Today I’d like to recommend this TED talk to you. It’s by Ann Marie Slaughter who raises some pertinent points to consider when thinking about the value of ‘breadwinning’ vs ‘caregiving’. Is one really more important than the other? Why are the two still not viewed with equal significance? Ann Marie argues that ‘true equality between men and women does not just mean valuing women on male terms’ (paraphrased). Essentially, we shouldn’t just look at the number of women in positions of power and judge equality on that. Instead she makes the case that we can measure equality as being true and genuine when caregiving is seen as being as significant as breadwinning. So, if someone needs to leave work by 4pm in order to go and care for their children or an elderly relative, this is a valid and important role. As long as the work gets done and the hours are made up, why can’t we be more flexible in the times we ask people to work? I currently share an office with a single mother who works full time and manages to care for her children wonderfully and also a father who works part time and is the primary care giver to his children. Both are amazing. I think that my place of work is equally amazing as they are happy to be flexible enough to accomodate both working situations. As long as the job gets done and is done well, they trust their employees to manage their own work time.
Watch the video and let me know what you think. Do you work for flexible employers? Or are you a part-time worker who is also a primary care-giver? If so, perhaps you should enter this year’s Red Women of the Year awards?