- WOMEN: Most likely pregnant and late for work.
Women who ask their employers for flexible work schedules so they can take care of their children are judged as being less likable and committed to work when compared to their male counterparts who ask for the same goddamn thing, according to a recent study. And while women are more likely to ask for this flex time (because in the eyes of our judgey society, they're still viewed as the primary caregivers, on top of increasingly being the primary breadwinners), the study found that they're less likely to have their flex time approved.
From Think Progress:
Munsch had study participants review transcripts between human resources representatives and employees. When a man asked to work from home two days a week to take care of his child, nearly a quarter found him to be “extremely likable” and just 2.7 percent thought he wasn’t committed to the job. When a woman made the same request, on the other hand, just 3 percent found her to be likable and 15.5 percent thought she wasn’t committed to her work. Other studies have found that women with flexible work arrangements are seen as having less dedication to their careers and less motivation to advance.
Nearly 70 percent of Munsch’s participants said they would be likely to approve the man’s request, while just about 57 percent said they would for a woman. This lines up with other research that has found that men are more likely to be given flexible work schedules.
Clearly, that's fucked. Men and women are performing the same basic familial duty while still doing their jobs. Men win an interoffice popularity contest, while women are consciously or unconsciously censured.
And the problem is much more pervasive than just the issue of flex time. Just yesterday I spoke with a good friend who's starting a new position at a progressive company. She informed her boss that she'd need flex time during the week to take care of an ongoing medical problem. She was granted the flexibility while being kindly informed by her (female) boss that she shouldn't disclose that information in the future to colleagues, as other people would judge her for taking that time for herself—and judge her commitment to the job. I know other women who've put off having children for years because they felt they needed to log a certain number of years with their company to "prove" themselves first.
It's nuts, and there's no easy fix, but as Think Progress points out, implementing programs like universal preschool and gender-neutral paid parental leave would go a long way toward relieving some of the disproportionate burden placed on working women who also happen to have lives and duties outside of work.