Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
LEADERSHIP / FEB. 03, 2014
version 3, draft 3

The Gender Gap: Is it All a Dream?

The general wisdom has always been, that women were being horribly discriminated against, in the work place and that this had created an awful gender gap. Apart from just plain sexism, a major factor in that view was that women were discriminated against when they wanted to return to work, once their children were old enough. But, a recent study by the Department for Education has shown that perhaps, women are not so keen to return to the workplace as once thought.

The Gender Gap

Everyone knows the story. Professional women, who have a baby, cannot rise up the corporate ladder, because having children stalls their careers. In many cases it can put a ten year gap in someone’s career. Eventually they start to feel bored or useless at home and return to the workplace, but are gutted that they have lost so many years of career development. Of course, it is true that rearing a couple of sprogs will affect anyone’s career development and this is more likely to be the mother than father. And there does certainly still exist a certain gender gap and sexism within the workplace. For instance, Simon Murray chairman of Glencore, one of the world’s largest commodities trading firms said, Women "have a tendency not to be so involved quite often and they’re not so ambitious in business as men because they’ve got better things to do. Quite often they like bringing up their children and all sorts of other things. All these things have unintended consequences. Pregnant ladies have nine months off. Do you think that means when I rush out, what I’m absolutely desperate to have is young women who are about to get married in my company, and that I really need them on board because I know they’re going to get pregnant and they’re going to go off for nine months?” But, the real question is how many mothers actually want to return to work. Are they really that cut up about their career progression. Or is much of it made up by rampant feminists and ill-informed fools.

Women Want to Stay at Home?

According to a recent study by the Department for Education the majority of women, do not actually want to go back to work at all. The study found that mothers of young children, are primarily going back to work for purely financial reasons. Roughly a third of the women polled, did not want to go back to work at all, after they have had their kids. And six out of ten women, wanted to cut down their hours, to spend more time with their families. Even more interesting, is the trends among women in senior and middle management positions. More than two thirds of those women would spend less time at the office, if they had the financial resources. Fewer than 49% of women disagreed with the idea that they would prefer to at home than at work.  

Government initiatives to improve access to childcare do not seem to be the answer, as the mothers want to raise the children themselves. In fact, only 23% of working mothers said they would spend more time at work, if they could find affordable childcare. Laura Perrins of Mothers at Home Matter said, "The Government’s own survey confirms the fact that the majority of mothers in work would like to spend more time at home caring for their children, not, as this Government would have us believe, less.

Ministers have placed relentless pressure on mothers to do exactly the opposite by bring in policies that separate mothers from their young children. They care nothing for the needs of young children or the desire of mothers who want to love and care for their children at home."

It would seem from the survey that the myth of women yearning to return to the workplace is indeed a myth. Is it just people being ill-informed, or are the feminists dabbling in their sinister ways again, hard to know.  Sexism and discrimination certainly still exists within the work place. But the reason for the gender gap in senior positions apparently is voluntary and actually welcomed by most women, who want to raise their children themselves.

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