Women and Flexibility in the Workplace
Women have always played a significant role in the social development of humankind. Starting from prehistoric times they performed such social duties such as taking care of children and keeping house. It allowed men to concentrate their forces on other duties, which have significantly contributed to technical progress.
Due to the dominant role of men in human history the development of humankind has taken a certain path that had its advantages and disadvantages. The aggressive behavior has always been the major negative effect of male dominance. Such behavior and attitude towards others had resulted in a never-ending series of wars. But every coin has two sides and the positive effect of male dominance has been the rapid development of technical progress. However, women always had a strong influence on men, directing them in certain ways and calming down their aggressive behavior.
As the time moved on women started to take more active position in social life. Starting from the 19th century women began to fight for their freedom and social rights. It all started in the early 19th century with the creation of suffrage movement. The suffrage movement fought for equal right of men and women, especially for the women’s rights to work at any position and to be able to vote. They have achieved great success, so starting from the last third of 19th century women won the right to hold any positions at work. This had a great impact on the development of modern society, especially due to the fact that most teachers were women. Despite the fact that women could hold any position, they were sometimes treated like workers of the lower quality. In the beginning of the 20th century women won the right to vote in certain developed countries and this tendency has spread worldwide.
The suffrage movement turned into the feminist movement in the 20th century. The members of feminist movement continued to struggle for full equality with men and due to their efforts all limitations for women have been removed (Hannam, n.d.). The leaders and members of the feminist movement continue the fight for women rights. In all of developed countries women have the same rights as men today. Only the most conservative Arabic Muslim countries stand out of the picture due to their religious standards. Yet, the fight for women rights can never be finished because there will always be some men who seek to humiliate women in the most selfish and arrogant way.
The factor that has also played a large role in development of women labor is social and economic instability in the world of 20th century due to the First and Second World Wars. These wars have struck a tremendous blow to the male population and, therefore, severely affected the economic wellbeing of the whole world. That is when women came to rescue the situation and took a large part of traditionally men’s work. That is when employer completely understood they could fully rely on women workforce. This contributed to the equal pay grade of men and women.
Women can take any position at work, in social life or politics and are not limited in any way due to the norms of modern law. It is also guaranteed to be the law that the salary of the worker does not depend on his gender. Sexual harassment at work is also strictly prohibited and people who commit it will answer to the norms of modern law. That gives women the ability to achieve success at any sphere of interest.
Unlike in the 19th century, it is also considered normal for women to combine family and work in the modern world. This has been achieved mostly due to the advance of contraception, development of social awareness and sexual revolution. Some women even prefer to neglect their duties concerning their families in order to achieve better results and build their career at work. However, most of women who have families prefer to use the advantages of flexibility at work.
Kathleen E. Christensen is one of the well-known scientist and a significant social figure who has her own opinion on the issue of flexibility at the workplace. She founded and directed the Workplace, Work Force and Working Families program at Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. That is why it would be interesting to analyze her position towards working women and flexibility at the workplace.
When a woman has a family and children to take care of, there is a serious question ahead of her. The question is “Should I stay at home or go to work to make extra money for my family and build my career?” Every woman has to decide this for herself. Yet those who decide to go to work simply need to use the benefits of workplace flexibility such as free schedule, ability to leave the working place for some time and then return to work or working full or part time from home. Without these advantages of workplace flexibility, it is hard to take necessary care of children and the overall situation at home. Neglecting such family duties could result in negative social effects such as unmanaged kids who tend to grow up into irresponsible members of society. Making a choice between taking care of the family and going to work could also result in sharp decline of women labor, which would have disastrous consequences for both small and big businesses and overall economic situation. That is why workplace flexibility of women in the workplace is a social and structural issue (Christensen, n.d.).
With growing intensity of events in every sphere of modern life, people have to cope with growing amounts of information and solve more problems along the way. These problems mostly refer to the lack of time for essential things such as personal life or spending time with the family. According to Kathleen Christensen, employees say that the traditional workplace structure does not work for them anymore and they even prefer workplace flexibility to high salary (Christensen, n.d.). Because of this most of the successful employers provide their employees with the abilities to use the benefits of workplace flexibility. It results both in more satisfied employees and better quality and amount of work done.
With the development of technical progress it has become easier to provide employees with workplace flexibility option. One of the main tools, which helps deliver a measure of workplace flexibility is telecommuting that has great power due to the use of modern information technologies and World Wide Web (Shutz, n.d.).
The issue of workplace flexibility for women is a serious issue that should not be neglected. Women greatly contribute to the development of all spheres of modern society. In my opinion, it is essential for our society to create comfortable conditions for women to work in. Without the effective use of women workforce it will be nearly impossible to build a successful future for the humankind. That is why creating workplace flexibility in the number one priority for business. With the help of such invaluable tools the humankind is sure to go forward and achieve even greater achievements in the development of healthy social and political environment.