Time on our side – Why we all need a shorter working week
Writing in the New Statesman, Anna Coote, head of social policy at the New Economics Foundation, has argued that the UK should work its way gradually towards a 30 hour working week – to help in the fight for gender equality in the workplace and at home.
Nowadays women are expected to go out to work and bring home a wage, but they must do so in ways that interfere as little as possible with, first, caring for children and, later, caring for ailing parents – and often both at once. As a result, many women do so-called “part-time” jobs, which attract lower wages and status because they are not seen as proper (that is, “full-time”) employment. The formal economy could not survive for a moment without the work women do at home. Yet this work is un-valued and largely unnoticed: it is today’s “problem that has no name”.
The personal is not just political, it is economic. Who does the dishes or changes the nappies is more than a social choice it’s the effect of an economy that runs on gender divides. Our working week is a relic of another time when women were expected to stay in the home. The next wave of feminism must challenge that.
Tags: Flexible working, For employers, For fathers, Work-life balance