November 22, 2022
2 minutes

Opinion column: Professional equality: what if we encouraged fathers to work on Wednesdays?

Although telework is currently a threat to women's careers, it could nevertheless be a vehicle for parity. Encouraging fathers to make use of teleworking would encourage a better distribution of the parental load within the heterosexual couple and would promote equality.

Opinion column: Professional equality: what if we encouraged fathers to work on Wednesdays?

The health crisis exacerbated gender disparities in both the domestic and professional spheres. During the initial containment, women were more likely to be asked to do household chores and take care of children. More women also put their careers on hold.

Since 2020, teleworking has become a permanent feature, averaging 2 days a week. Wednesday, the children's day, attracts our attention. If some employees demand to be in the office to avoid domestic demands, others, on the contrary, particularly aspire to telework on this day, so much so that today some organisations have decided to prohibit it.

Women spend an average of 1.5 hours per day more than men on cleaning, shopping and childcare.

We urge companies to be vigilant about the use of teleworking by women employees, particularly on Wednesdays. In addition to making women more invisible, this phenomenon risks crushing them under the weight of the domestic tasks that are - too often - assigned to them. Women spend an average of one and a half hours a day more than men on housework, shopping and childcare, so it is likely that the time freed up by teleworking will be used for the home.

Telework should not follow the trajectory of part-time work, which, while it has the advantage of keeping some women in work, is a major contributor to disparities. Because of childcare problems and the domestic burden they carry, women are over-represented in part-time jobs, which are often low-skilled and low-paid.

There is an urgent need for equal sharing of parenting within heterosexual couples, a key step towards professional equality.

Some companies have tailor-made telework policies that give more flexibility to certain profiles: pregnant women, disabled people, employees living more than an hour away from home, etc. Hybrid work should enable fathers to become more involved in their parenthood, via incentive policies, particularly for young fathers. A system that could also partially compensate for the inadequacies of paternity leave, which has certainly been extended to 28 days by the government, a first step that is still too timid when we know how much this pivotal period is a breeding ground for inequality: the gender pay gap widens according to the number of children and the female activity rate decreases with each birth.

Positive telework" must be to professional equality what positive discrimination is to social diversity. Let's make hybridity an accelerator of parity and a tool of emancipation for women.

Offishall is an employee presence management solution that aims to support organizations in the implementation of the hybrid work mode - alternating between telework and face-to-face. Every day, the company allows thousands of users to know who is where when and therefore to find their way around the office (better). The Offishall Planning tool contributes to boosting the attractiveness of the structures by helping them to take up the great HR challenge of the decade: that of work flexibility.

Audrey Barbier-Litvak and Edmée Citroën

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