According to the fantastic Pregnant Than Screwed today marks the day in the year where women start working for free.
Today, due to the gender pay gap, marks the day where the 30% pay difference between mothers and similarly educated fathers shows. In true solidarity, the team over at Pregnant Then Screwed is asking mothers to take a break, put their feet up and share a cup of Equali-TEA!
We all want workplace equality. I am lucky to have understanding employers. However today I am actually off for the day, having to take annual leave, due to my role as a working mother. Not only does today mark the day that women start working for free. It’s the day my stepson leaves for university. My partner is taking him in our shared car.
Carless means workless
We aren’t a two car family, because we cannot afford one – despite both working full time. For me, working 30 miles from home, being carless means not being able to get to work for the day. I could have got the train. However I wouldn’t have been able to make it to work and back within nursery hours to do this. There are a number of factors that need to be looked at which are close to what Pregnant Then Screwed are working for when you consider my predicament today.
Full time work means full time nursery charges
The main reason I cannot work today because we cannot afford a second car. The gender pay gap means the average wage for my industry and role is what I am paid – it’s not enough. This is one reason we cannot afford a second car. The second is the raising costs of childcare and how much this effects us. Plus the fact that I work full time because its not worth me working part time. There is also the consideration of the fact I need a car to get to work.
Working far from home
I work 30 miles from home. I work there because in my industry there aren’t many places closer to home to work. We don’t live there because the rising costs of rent mean that we can’t afford to move. Our travel to work costs us £200 per month. Nursery charges and rent combined for the city we work in total around £350 more a month than what we currently pay for them both. If my pay was more, we could afford to move or have a second car.
Pregnant Then Screwed talk about making it easier to work flexibly with your employer. Mine offer flexible working to an extent. They have recently allowed me to adjust my hours 3 days a week so I can make use of the 30 free hours that are being offered by my nursery…. however when I asked to work from home for just today and tomorrow, I was told it wasn’t possible. I work as a Digital Marketing Assistant, the majority of my work is done in ‘the cloud’. But I cannot do it from home due to their own business reasons. This isn’t a slur on my employer. I love my job and I love working there. I just think they are a bit old fashioned when it comes to flexible working.
Pregnant then screwed
My employer aren’t alone in that. There are so many companies in the UK who could let their staff have more flexibility, yet don’t. This includes the chance to work from home, work longer hours some days to have one off each week etc. And even when employers do offer flexible working, studies show that the women who take up the offer feel that it stops them from progressing in their careers. I know that having my child stopped me from progressing in my previous role. They declined all my requests for flexibility in my contract and made it impossible for me to justify returning to work after my maternity pay.
Equality isn’t just needed in the workplace though. It’s needed everywhere and if it becomes standard at work and school it will filter through. This fantastic article I shared on my Facebook page yesterday says it so well. Point 9 of the article talks about women juggling everything, full time work, childcare, pet care, housework. This is so true. I see so many people talk about how much they do at home on top of work and I wonder where their partners are. These partners are good men, they are kind and loving. But they don’t even think to do any housework, because thats not in their mind. I am so lucky that my partner understands the work that needs doing in our home and out of it. We share everything from the nursery bill to the household chores. However I do all the driving!
This is why
These are the reasons why I’m joining in with Pregnant Not Screwed today and raising my cup of Equali-TEA. I am not sure I believe that women are actually working for free from today. But I agree that we need more equality. We need more flexibility. We need some reassurance that flexibility won’t inhibit career progression. What’s more, we need the freedom to help being a great future generation into the world and still have our own life.