International Women’s Day: Working Life Challenges


It’s 2017 and thankfully (!) women are now allowed to continue working outside of the home after they are married. We are also allowed to vote, choose our own clothes and more. I’m not being flip, only a few decades ago women had far fewer choices, particular regarding their careers after they were married or had children.

While there is still evidence of gender inequality (the gender pay gap being one issue often seen in the media at the moment) the overall gap career-wise between men and women has become less pronounced. That said, content marketing agency Axonn Media recently completed a survey involving parents and how they felt about the professional challenges they faced.

Given that today (8th March 2017) is International Women’s Day it seems as good a time as any to look at the pressure of parents in work post-parenthood and in particular the difference between mothers and fathers.

Axonn Media surveyed 108 parents on their working life and it seems that being a mum still presents greater professional challenges than being a Dad, even in 2017. The Gender in Marketing 2017 report found that of the parents surveyed, 62% of mums felt that becoming a parent had hindered in some way they career/career progression, as opposed to 24% of the fathers surveyed who felt the same way.

Despite this survey being relatively small, it gives an indication of how parents may feel overall in the UK. Despite it being 2017 and both legislation and the proven effectiveness of flexible working being well known, mothers seem to feel that overall there are more obstacles at work for a working mother than a working father.

What concerns me is that there are any obstacles at all! People become parents every minute and yet some employers are still not capitalising on flexible working. Of the many factors which parents felt made career maintenance and progression difficult the following came out as the top three:

  • Work-related travel and meeting (55%)
  • Working hours (48%)
  • Lack of employer flexibility (34%)

Have a look at the handy infographic below for a breakdown of Axonn’s findings.

Do these statistics and this research align itself with what you’ve experienced personally? That men and women in 2017 are finding parenthood to have a detrimental effect on their careers, regardless of the male/female ratio, is outstanding (in my eyes). 

I struggle to comment on this from a personal point of view as I gave up my previous thriving career when my eldest son was born to become self-employed and work from home, mainly for the flexibility benefits that going freelance offers but also because I felt my focus had altered and I was ready to move in another direction.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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