Perks for mothers leave their childless colleagues fuming: Two thirds say they are forced to work longer hours

Just published by the Daily Mail:

There is, of course, no recognition in the article – written by a female journalist, what are the chances? – of the impact on men of having to compensate for the lower hours typically worked by female colleagues with children. Three photographs are associated with the article – one of an exhausted woman in her car, one mother – a toddler on her lap – working at a computer, and a man eating a takeaway pizza whilst watching TV. The message seems to be, ‘Women working, men shirking’. Who picked those photos? Laura Bates?

There’s the predictable denial of a link between hours worked, and output:

Helena Morrissey, chairman of Opportunity Now and chief executive of Newton Investment Managers, said: ‘The survey responses show an uneasy tension between women who don’t have children and those who do. Two-thirds of non-parents feel they are expected to work longer hours than those with children – while at the same time, there’s a widespread view that those who work flexibly will progress less quickly than their peers, even if their contribution is similar.’

‘These findings suggest that flexible working isn’t working. One group feels resentment, the other feels less valued. Overcoming this tension is entirely possible – but companies need to measure output, not hours worked, and radically reassess working practices.’

Experts believe the resentment could be caused by workers feeling under pressure to achieve and blaming others for their own failings. Social psychologist Dr Sandra Wheatley said employers could settle disagreements between parent and non-parent workers by focusing on the end results of tasks rather than the time spent on them.

Helena Morrissey says, ‘These findings suggest that flexible working isn’t working’. The woman’s a genius. She also informs us that ‘companies need to… radically reassess working practises’. Or maybe… here’s a crazy idea… they don’t need to?

Morrissey was the founder of The 30% Club, an organisation with the sole objective of increasing the proportion of women on major corporate boards, although we’ve presented her and countless others with evidence showing a causal link between increasing the proportion of women on boards, and declines in corporate financial performance. A third of FTSE100 chairmen are members of the club. What could possibly go wrong?

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • What the article also does is rubbish the views of the women who are annoyed about the shorter hours . In effect it says these women only think mothers aren’t pulling their weight because of faulty logic or their own insecurity. Rather than they are simply observing that spending less time at work is likely to mean less work done and someone full time covering.

    • Indeed. Anyone who points out the blindingly obvious problems with these ‘directions of travel’ – in this case, the inevitable impact of driving ever more mothers into paid employment against their will, at the expense of their own and their children’s wellbeing – and is impacted negatively by them, has to be discredited. In the febrile minds of women like Helena Morrissey (always in the ‘1 in 7’ camp of women who are ‘work-centred’) and the (inevitably) female social psychologist quoted in the piece, there are always solutions to intractable problems. Only problem is, year after year, those solutions don’t appear, by definition – the problems are intractable. The analysis behind what women like Morrissey and the social psychologist are saying simply isn’t rooted in the realities of the natures of men and women. It’s time to tell them to take a LONG hike.