It may be considered a superpower, but in fact it is within a woman’s nature to work in a boundaryless way that benefits everyone within their sphere of interaction.
I personally don’t believe enough research has been done in the nature of how women work and their ability to balance everything and still be a majority of the world’s labour force.
The way women move in their careers and adjust to the demands of everyday life is exactly what is needed in the workforce right now.
The way of the past was that work and life didn’t intermingle. Men went to work and then came home to provide. But now, the workforce consisting of majority women, dynamic women, has shown us that a multiple-role perspective is necessary in the workplace. Very few women in the workplace are linear in the way they move within their careers. Women are made up of constellations of multiple roles and that needs to be embraced more in the way we work and the roles we are put into. The day corporate South Africa taps into this, is the day this economy will function at its historical best.
When an organisation is aware of the fact that we are living in a time when women are the majority of the workforce and have always chosen vocation, their calling, as well as designing their career paths to fulfil and encompass their own interests, self-actualizations, aid their developments and their family’s development, we will start moving into a wholesome economic future for South Africa.
Those are the businesses of the future and that is the kind of organisation I am building at Art of Superwoman.
The new family and the patterns of life now are slowly but surely resembling a change in gender roles and an expansion of the woman’s role in the home as the economic provider. Men’s roles are transforming more into family responsibility. This does not mean men are not working, but it means the way the world works will have to resemble how women work and there’s research that backs this up. If we want our societal ideals to match the reality we walk into and our lived experiences, we need to embrace some changes and start making intentional strides towards moving our world forward in this new normal.
“To understand the everyday realities of modern societies we need to recognise that the family is a dynamic entity, characterized by growing complexity with respect to decision-making processes regarding transitions over the family life course and organization of family life. Indeed, the family can no longer be described simply as a set of well-defined roles; it is negotiated on a daily basis, constructed by interactions between partners at the micro-level (Morgan 2011), and influenced by macro structures of the political and economic spheres. Work and family lives are increasingly influencing each other as both women and men engage in earning as well as caring activities, often reinforced by the labour market developments with specific skill demands, together with increasing employment instability and precariousness. Gender relations and related values and attitudes have become more fluid, changing dynamically over the life course in the context of blurring boundaries of family and work life. Also, different policy contexts affect new constructions of gender in doing family in various ways, impeding convergence to a singular pattern of family life courses across countries.”
Companies are going to have to lean into the changes that are needed and stop the cycle of the quintessential progress being the only measure of suitable candidacy for roles.
And here are some changes that will need to happen (sooner rather than later):
- Hiring practices, promotion practices, opportunities to re-skill and upskill and compensation of women need to be re-evaluated.
- Collaborating internally and nurturing the intrapreneur needs to be top priority. A lot of black women are intrapreneurial within their careers and end up being ostracised because of their above average work attitudes, their value for time and ability to maximise it, their honesty, and their ability to amass wealth for both themselves and the companies they work for. The attitude towards this must change.
- Women AND men must be allowed to take time off to look after their families. We need to nurture the pauses in between our careers and be comfortable in it. Organisations that appreciate that people are humans with peaks and troughs will be able to get the most out of them.
- The appreciation that women may need supplement income or take on multiple projects for her own personal progress. This in turn has potential to benefit a potential employer. Women are innately programmed to have life-career and work/occupation-career, and both of these are very important to her overall fulfilment and wealth creation.
- Fluidity and culture changes need to change, and work-related well-being be part of the wellness journey that companies take into consideration as they reskill and upskill.
- Closing the gender pay gap. It should not have to be the responsibility of women alone to close the gender pay gap. Women have proved themselves enough and have established themselves enough in their work ethic to be able to justify why they must be paid equally, heck we basically kept this economy going in 2020, a real concerted effort by key stakeholders and leaders needs to be made.
“Nothing bad happens when women have more money” – Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck
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