How equal is the world of self employment?
As more people in Britain, both men and women look towards self employment as an increasingly viable and fulfilling way of building a career and bringing in the bacon, new research by AXA has found that female entrepreneurs are still having to juggle more tasks during the working day than their male counterparts.
One of the biggest advantages of being self employed, especially for women, is the option to have greater authority over your own work/life balance. However whilst that makes it easier to integrate your working life into your home life, it doesn't necessarily reduce the overall workload. Women are still taking on higher levels of unpaid work, including care for the young and the elderly, housework and the day to day management of the household itself.
According to AXA's study, 75% of female business owners spend three to five days of their week working from home. While 65% of men who work for themselves stick to a nine-to-five day in their home offices; only a third of women say they do the same. And 51% of them say they have to squeeze housework into their working hours, compared to just 23% of men.
The working day itself is often stretched to accommodate getting housework and childcare in before 9am, and women are more likely than men to find themselves either staying late at the (home)office to accommodate, or going back to work after further unpaid work past 6pm. The AXA survey showed that on 2% of men experience this stretched out day.
A further source of stress is the increased likelihood of erratic working hours and the blurring of lines between home and work life. As previously discussed, the option to blend your home and work lives can seem very tempting- surely it's the best way to become more efficient and fulfilled? However the reality is often that work stress flows over into the home, and home stress burrows its way into the business world.
It isn't all negative though, AXA also pointed out that as a consequence of this blurring, women are less likely to say they feel lonely and/or missing office life.
With greater amounts of technology in our everyday lives, and workplaces beginning to adapt to these changes; along with the positive pressure from women looking to build better work/life paths- have we reached the tipping point?