Women need to work and want to work, they are good at work, they have brilliant careers, but they also want to have children and take care of sick family members, they are also good at this.
For thousands of women, work and family fail to integrate. The lack of flexibility in work forces their choices in favor of the family and when circumstances change and they would be able to return to work, they find their way blocked.
This article is written for women who have had an interruption in their career, for those who, for any reason, have had to take a step back, and for anyone who hopes to find meaning and balance in their working life.
Women and return to work
Our goal is to help women build meaningful and sustainable careers throughout their working life. It is increasingly unlikely that careers will continue steadily from start to retirement.
There will be several changes along the way, you may end up hating the career you have chosen, finding a new passion, having health problems, taking time to raise your children or taking care of elderly relatives.
Your career will have to reflect these changes. We want women to be able to build flexible careers, to develop at different speeds, to contemplate interruptions.
This goal is supported by fundamental beliefs:
- life is long, complex and disordered;
- work adds something to our life;
- our value does not derive exclusively from work;
- parenting develops a new set of skills;
- ageism is pernicious, widespread and wrong;
- we should be free to choose.
A photograph of the current situation of women and the world of work
The situation of many women today is as follows: women’s careers are interrupted; a lack of women at the top in all sectors; a persistent gender pay gap; women who work for which they are too qualified; women who take work breaks that end up lasting forever; limited options when they decide to return.
But today is also the right time for a change. A woman who returns to work after a break can be the ideal solution for new businesses and startups that need to grow, why?
- You are brilliantly organized and you will use your time effectively, these new companies are looking for leaders who are focused on results.
- You are full of resources . You have 20 years of experience on and off the job. You are creative and capable of using lateral thinking to solve problems.
- You are hungry . After years of putting others in front of you, it is now your turn and you will be working hard.
- You are convenient . Why hire someone full time when the same job can be done in less time by an expert and efficient person focused on getting the result in the shortest possible time?
- You are an investment not a responsibility. You have self-awareness and you know how to work in a team, you are mature, you don’t need supervision.
- Your difference is your strength . The ideas are better and the environment is more fun when it is varied.
The benefits for businesses in hiring a woman
Having more women among employees brings a number of benefits to companies:
- They represent the customer base . Over 75% of consumer decisions are made by women.
- Brain drain costs . Many companies spend a fortune on hiring and training bright women just to see them leave after 7 or 8 years.
- Increased transparency . Thanks to social media, everyone can know what companies do and who works there. The lack of senior women in a company can discourage talented young women.
- The loss of invaluable social and intellectual capital . Women take many years of trust with them when they leave.
- Technology has just begun to influence the way we work . Agility, communication, flexibility and collaboration are needed to succeed in a connected world. All strengths that women have always shown to possess.
Change mentality to return to the world of work
Before looking on the job posting pages you need to do a search in your head. Often it is the stories we tell ourselves that keep us from returning to work and getting the success we deserve.
We create false reasons and excuses that limit our expectations and ambitions. We often look at ourselves, at others and at the world through mental models deeply rooted in us, often unconscious, which originate from our back ground, which tell us a pre-packaged “truth” about ourselves and how things are going.
To progress we must challenge and reject them. The key to unlocking these mental models is first of all to bring them out for what they are and then collect evidence to check if they are true or not. Use a table like this, write your mental models, the evidence that proves them and the evidence to the contrary. .
Mental Model: The family couldn’t do it without me.
Evidence to prove it: I take my children to school, cook all meals, do housework, take care of the administration.
The cons: I never asked anyone else to do these jobs for me.
Mental model: I’m too old.
Evidence to prove it : Everyone who works here is 20 years younger than me, I’m too old to learn new methods and technologies.
The case against: Except the manager who is my same age. I just learned how to use Hootsuite. Our population is aging.
Mental model: I am irrelevant, my skills are not up to date.
Evidence to prove it: We only talk about digital marketing these days and I don’t know anything about it.
The cons: I know the prospect of a female consumer very well. I use apps and platforms on a regular basis.
Mental Model: I can’t go back to the same level because I need flexibility.
Evidence to prove it: No one in a senior position in my previous job worked part time.
The cons: The list of Time Wise Power 50 shows that there are many people who have excellent flexible jobs.