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The Pitfalls of Part-Time Work

Written by Denise Micallef Xuereb, Construction & Development Director AX Group 

I believe in women and feel strongly about their entrepreneurial skill sets. As a company, we have always promoted women, even in high ranking positions. Locally, however, I feel that, although the situation is constantly improving there is still a long way to go. The figures still highlight poor female representation on boards and in leadership positions. Now the reasons for this are many but one element I can see is that many companies offer women part-time work instead of allowing women to work full-time and on flexible terms. Part-time work will only set them back and, potentially, will not allow them to achieve the same goals as their male peers. Now obviously that does not go with every position and with every role but that is very a probable cause why we don’t see as much female representation in higher corporate positions. They are just not around for the promotions! 😀

Another reason is also a question of mentality, I call it sometimes “self-limitation.” There are many women I know that are insecure about their own abilities, clouding themselves with a lot of doubt, questioning their abilities to venture out to be able to arrive at those top positions. Sometimes it’s just a simple thing of asking for what one deserves. This, coupled with social pressure coming from extended families or friends to quit jobs when they marry or have kids, or even possible guilt feelings when it comes to the family-work balancing act. Yet, these feelings of self-doubt need to be tempered with the realisation that women are capable and have much to offer. Women are born organisers and multitaskers. At least all women I know are! ☺️ Indeed, women should be on boards knowing they have earned the right to be on that board just like anyone else.

Quotas may be counterproductive since they might create even more insecurity. Women should be on boards because they want to and are encouraged to do so. If I were a woman on a board that had a quota imposed on it, I could question why I really am on that board. Am I there because I really deserve to be there or am I there to satisfy the requirement? This might create even more insecurity.

On the other hand, businesses that adopt more family-friendly practices and allow for continued awareness will encourage other women who are still contemplating how they can succeed at managing their work-life balance. Part of this is the realisation – across the board – that both parents need and should be able to opt to go to work. The moment we see husbands going to parents day, husbands (partners) also asking for reduced hours or demanding paternity leave I can see the mentalities shifting even further than today.

We should be able to decide for ourselves what we want in our do in lives. I am proud to be surrounded by women in my office. So, what we need is for policies to catch up to really make it easier for women to get to the top.