Make remote work a plus instead of a penalty for gender equality
Authors: Kim de Laat, Carmina Ravanera and Sarah Kaplan
The arrival of the federal affordable child-care plan has meant a rise in women’s employment in Canada – a success we should celebrate. But, the way we work has changed over the past few years, mainly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people now work in remote and hybrid arrangements, and research has found that women who use these arrangements are often penalized in their careers.
As more women join the workforce, policies facilitating paid and unpaid work must ensure they are not just able to work, but also to thrive. These changes must be embedded in a constellation of employer and government policy interventions.
Despite early signs of progress, universal access to quality child care is not yet a reality – a chief reason being that child-care workers are woefully underpaid and undervalued, leading inadequate numbers of people to be attracted to the career. Without enough workers to provide child care for those who need it, women, who are expected to provide the majority of caregiving at home, may be prevented from pursuing full-time employment or accessing the kinds of positions that are professionally and financially rewarding.
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