International women´s day 2021
How has the lockdown created possibilities for greater gender equality in 2021?
Today is Monday, March 8 and the International Women´s Day, a day dedicated to honoring the achievements of women throughout history and across the globe.
But it is also a day where parents all over UK can breathe a sigh of relief as schools reopen to all children after having been closed for most children since Christmas. Finally, the impossible juggle comes to an end; caring for your children, running the house, managing homeschool tech and turning your hand to teaching all the while working your normal job!
There has been lots of coverage especially in the UK on the impact to women’s careers during this lockdown, but little mention of the positives of having both parents at home.
We want to take a moment and look at what the lockdown has taught us (in Konsolidator and probably many other companies around the globe as well) about gender equality and how we hope it will benefit greater gender equality.
How lockdown has impacted the traditional gender roles
From our perspective working from home has turned out to have a positive effect on gender equality and we already see changes that encourages equality happening within the home. Since everyone have been forced to work remotely for the past year families have been forced to look at the family as a whole.
"My husband and I never thought that we would be facing a year of working from home together, managing home learning alongside our jobs. However, by working as a team and valuing the importance of both our careers we have done it. Sharing responsibilities equally has been the key to survival and equality really does start at home.” - Lianne Gatti, Country Manager at Konsolidator.
When looking at the family as a unit, where logistics play a key role of every member to feel content sharing tasks within the home such as cooking, cleaning, and childcare has been a positive biproduct of the lockdown. Especially in those households where both parents have a full-time job.
Spending more time with your children makes you develop communication, co-ordination and problem-solving skills which can be translated back into your job which can have positive impact for both genders.
“With the commute removed and a more predictable schedule installed, switched-on work-from-home Dads have been able to plan their responsibilities with homeschooling as well as spending lunch and coffee breaks with their partners who are their new water-cooler work colleagues. As a consequence of quality days, they are also not as worn-out by the weekend as they usually are, leading to better family time on every front. Who is going to wear a suit anywhere anymore?” – Tim Hole FRSA ICF IAF, Token Dad
Use the lockdown as a catalyst for greater gender equality
The lockdown has taught us much, both in terms of how we work, and how we are together as a family. These lessons can be used for creating greater equality between genders both in the workplace and at home.
“Since long before the lockdown we have seen the possibility of offering employees to work remotely a few days during the week as a way of being able to attract the most talented employees while providing a healthy work life balance with more flexibility, as time spent with the family is important (for both women and men)” – Claus Finderup Gove, CEO at Konsolidator.
Eventhough we are all looking forward to getting back in the office again, we do see that the lockdown has taught us a few positive things:
1) Working from home increases efficiency.
Working from home means more focused time, fewer coffee breaks, small talk with colleagues and other interruptions like this which decreases efficiency. Of course, if you need to home school your kids while working this can be a challenge but as we have also learned remote work also encourages a more flexible workflow.
2) Remote work creates a flexible workflow.
A more flexible workflow means you can adapt your working day to your private routine and visa versa to a certain extend. When being able to work remotely this also means that you can work when it makes the most sense to your company and you. You can adapt your working routine to the daily routine of your family. It means that both parents in some cases can work on different hours.
3) Agile mindset creates greater equality.
During the lockdown, we have had to adapt quickly to a new and uncertain situation. We have had to leave room for uncertainty since the world is moving fast. When working from home and having the opportunity of a flexible workflow it provides an opportunity to develop an agile mindset. This means that parents are more likely to share tasks, so it fits into the entire family’s needs and not just to one person’s job. When looking at the family as a unit logistics will play a key role and an agile mindset is needed to make a plan that will accommodate everyone’s needs.
Lets hope we can use the learnings we have seen during the lockdown as a catalyst for change and optimize our work procedures for better gender equality.
Happy international women´s day!