Can Remote Work Level the Gender Gap?

Equality for all! It’s not just a war cry of the past century. No matter race, gender, or socio-economic stance, what every person wants is simple: an equal opportunity for success.

We may cringe at the thought of another Zoom call, but could the big picture be for the better good?

What is the Gender Gap?

The Gender Gap quite simply is the wage gap that exists between male and female employees across all industries.

In 1963, the Equal Pay Act made it illegal to pay men and women different salaries when holding the same position. Despite this law that was placed nearly 60 years ago, a significant difference between the sexes continues. The census bureau reported in 2018 that women earned 82 cents to every dollar a man earned.

Why is There a Gender Gap?

It can seem at the surface that this is a simple case of discrimination. And while there may be a bad egg or two in the executive pool, there are greater issues to consider. In general, the role of caretaker in a family unit is still heavily reliant on the women.

Although the concept of “stay-at-home dad” has gained a bit more popularity with the Millennials, they still only make up about 17% of the “stay-at-home” population at large. As per Pew Research Center 27% of mom’s in the U.S. were of “stay-at-home” status as of 2016. That is nearly 30 percent of females missing out on experience and tenure in the workforce.

Another greatly overlooked factor is the Single Mom. The U.S. is host to the highest population of single mothers. 30% of those families are trapped below the poverty line. Single mothers have now choice but to juggle their child’s schedule and needs with their own. As a result, they are oftentimes forced to choose part-time, lower paying jobs with flexible schedules. This is perhaps why The California Commission of Peace reports that 90% of welfare recipients are single mothers.

So despite the simple efforts of fair employment, the accommodation of the average female professional has yet to exist.

Why Not Just Get a Job?

For more than 90% of women, being “stay-at-home” was not a life goal, but rather a sacrifice for the sake of being that “life” part of being the work-life balance. And, even more, a single mom’s requirement of flexibility has forced them out of the competitive job market of livable wages altogether.

There are more than 4 million mom bloggers who are desperately dedicating hours creating content in effort to develop some form of autonomous income in the Google lottery. That’s because these women want to work. These women want off of welfare. They are willing to do what it takes to earn an income while raising children.

How Do Remote Opportunities Help?

The COVID outbreak has forced the corporations’ hands to innovate for the sake of truly flexible employment. It’s like overnight there has been a boom in strategies for remote placement. And with the requirements of virtual school, management has been forced to take family into the forefront of consideration.

60 years ago, corporations made the bare minimum effort of banning the practice of bias in their Employee Handbooks. But today, with radical changes the playing field is stabilizing. Whether white male executive, or female Hispanic executive, there will be the same amount of background noise from children. There is a shared commute. There is the day-to-day ability to multi-task a work and life balance.

The Future of Remote Work

But isn’t all this only temporary? Won’t the release of immunizations deplete the competitive online job market come late 2021? I wouldn’t quite jump to such quick conclusions. In a study done by Harvard Business Review, more than a thousand business leaders were interviewed and 78% of them seemed to anticipate a continued growth in remote job positions post-pandemic.

And why not? Remote work is cost effective while seeing a similar quality output of work. No longer do we need endless flights of face-to-face, cross-departmental collaborations. We have finally unlocked the potential of the technology we have been collecting for decades. We are just as interconnected virtually as we have been over the past centuries of industry, if not more so.

References:

HBR: Recreating Work as a Blend of Virtual and Physical Experiences

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