Updated: Jul 9, 2022
In my last 2 Don’t Quit blogs, I wrote about what two crucial stakeholders – women themselves and organisations can do to ensure women are retained in the workforce.
In this blog, I will talk about what the third element of this eco system (Family & Friends) can do to retain & encourage women to continue to in the formal workforce.
Change the gender lens – Don’t view women as primary caregivers & men as primary breadwinners. Both have an equal role to play in raising & nurturing the future generations.
Change the gender narrative – starting from the adjectives we use for our girls to the toys we buy and the tasks we assign to them. Using adjectives like “bold & strong” for girls instead of “fair & pretty”, encouraging boys to explore their “softer” side and playing an equal role in all domestic tasks will ensure that children are reared in a gender-neutral environment which does not limit them.
The 3 E’s – providing girls with access to Education, Employment & Equal opportunity.
Equal division of labour – especially child & elder care which should & must be a joint responsibility of both partners
Plan and organize childcare in advance and share costs equally
If paid childcare is not an option due to financial constraints, parents or in laws can offer to move in till the children go to school
Friends can step in to share school/hobby & sports class pick up duty
Don’t judge a woman or make her feel guilty for being less than a “perfect” mother. In trying to balance & manage both the work & family responsibilities, women often face burnout or stress issues which causes them to drop out of the workforce.
Above all, don’t view a woman’s career as secondary or dispensable. When the family changes their gender perspective, the needle moves for the entire family and becomes a force multiplier for transformational change.
Drawing on the extended family & friends for support does not make us less than perfect mothers. In fact, there is no such thing as a perfect mother. We are all imperfect human beings doing our best and giving our best so that we can realise our aspirations.
Charity begins at home & Equality begins with treating & raising our sons & daughters in the same way. As good human beings who will contribute towards creating a more equal world in the future.