The way we work has changed drastically over the past year – and a lot of it for the better. Flexible working is now more commonplace (fingers crossed it will remain this way when offices reopen), no commuting equates to a better work-life balance and a new study has found that women have become ‘more ambitious’ about their careers than men too.
The report, released by FutureLearn and YouGov, found that women have taken more of an active interest in further learning – particularly in coding and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects.
In fact, of the people surveyed, 55% of women said they enrolled in a STEM subject in 2020 while 44.5% of men did.
The study also found that 45% of women believe that education has the ability to make the word a better place and lessen violence (compared to 39% of men) and 40% of women said they would likely take an online course within the next five years to personally develop compared to 35% of men.
Other key findings from the study included that the younger generation is ‘accelerating change’ in the education world as many more opt for online learning and there is also a stark decrease in ‘jobs for life’ that the generations before us held.
While women are looking to further educate themselves and further their careers, the pandemic has also provided a blueprint for working parents for the future as it’s shown employers that flexible working is absolutely doable.
According to the latest ONS statistics, in 2019 at least 75% of British mothers with dependents were in work while 92% of fathers were. It also revealed that 28.5% of women with children under 14 had to reduce their working hours due to childcare reasons – just 4.8% of fathers had to do the same.
The pandemic has only added to the weight working mothers carry. A study from the University College London found that women spent twice as much time homeschooling their kids during the first lockdown than men and a survey from Pregnant Then Screwed of 20,000 working mothers found that, as of July 2020, 15% of the mothers had been made redundant or were expected to be with 46% of those blaming lack of childcare. Nearly three quarters of the women surveyed said they had to work fewer hours due to childcare issues too.
With women being more ambitious about their careers, however, hopefully the pandemic will result in the rise of flexible working. If childcare is unavailable or unaffordable and a couple has to decide which parent will look after the kid(s), that parent should be able to take advantage of flexible working patterns if they choose to do so. As women are (statistically) more likely to stay at home, this could see an increase in mothers returning to work after having a baby, and working on their own terms too.
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