Flextime … Is There Gender Bias?

An interesting topic came to my attention the other day. I didn’t believe what I was hearing … until I did a little research. Did you know that there’s a disparity between genders when it comes to flextime? I was a bit surprised at what I discovered and I think you will be too.

In several studies and surveys, it was revealed that managers will more often approve men’s requests for flextime over women’s. Very interesting! The reasons for this may shock you!

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One survey states: “…professional men were more likely to be granted flextime if they made the request to advance their careers. On the other side of the spectrum, requests from women whether they were professional or paid by the hour were usually not granted. The reason for their flextime request did not matter.”

This is troubling on a couple of fronts. In a nutshell, it appears that when men ask for a flexible schedule, it’s assumed by managers that they’re asking for professional reasons and, therefore, requests are granted. On the flip side, when women ask for flexible schedules, the majority of managers assume it’s for personal reasons so the requests are denied. Not only that, but the women that ask are “…viewed as less likable and committed to their jobs.” Ugh!

Are managers really that out of touch? Well, according to at least one study, it appears many of them may be!. Here’s what else I found….

Believe it or not, woman are more hard-nosed about making any concessions in their careers to achieve work / life balance. Yep, it appears to be true! Just look at these stats:

  • More men than women reported changing or being willing to change jobs (67% vs. 57%) or careers (60% vs. 52%) to better manage work and family lives.
  • 57% of men said they’d give up a promotion versus 49% of women.
  • Women were also 8 percentage points less likely than men to move to be closer to family (46% versus 38%) or to move to a country that offered parental leave benefits (26% versus 18%).

Another interesting component to this is that most employees are apparently unaware of the managerial bias discovered in these studies. Of note … a lot of men don’t ask for flextime because they don’t believe it would be granted. A lot of women believe if they asked for flextime for professional reasons, it would be granted. WOW … both appear to be wrong! You know that old saying, “What you don’t know, won’t hurt you.” Well, we’ve just taken THAT to a whole new level.

Personally, I think it’s FABULOUS that they guys are willing to make career sacrifices for the family. One expert believes that some of the shift in the “norm” is attributed to the fact that a large percentage of the younger men in the workforce watched their mothers work AND take on many of the additional responsibilities relating to parenting (after school activities, homework, etc.). These young men witnessed first-hand the struggles that mothers working outside of the home face. Makes sense to me! How about you?

While it was discussed in one of the articles, I don’t really want to get into the equal pay thing because there are so many variables that come into play. This blog would be VERY long! But suffice it to say that women, more than men, feel that their “careers” are on the line if they ask for any “privileges” or say no to a move or promotion in order to obtain a work / life balance. Men seem to feel that their careers are on more solid ground.

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CONCLUSIONI’ve never been a conspiracy theorist and won’t jump on that bandwagon here either. I sincerely believe that there are a lot of good people in this world that if made aware, and given the opportunity, will conduct themselves in a fair and equitable manner. My personal feeling is that there’s still some work to be done in overcoming some of the “ingrained” biases that we grew up with … biases that have been accepted as normal or expected. Change doesn’t happen over night, and we can’t expect people to listen if we beat them over the head with our opinions or theories of deliberate unfairness. Let’s strive to wear our badge of professionalism proudly, remember that communication is a two-way street, and offer as much value as we possibly can.

REFERENCES:  

Guess Who Gets More Flex Time? 

Which Gender Sacrifices Most? 

Women Seeking Flex-Time Pay Heavier Price

Flextime(5) Do you have career or life questions?

If so, comment below and I’ll be happy to respond!

 

Thanks for sharing your time with me and reading my BLOG!

Warm regards…. Debra


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One thought on “Flextime … Is There Gender Bias?

  1. Great blog post Debra. It’s an interesting topic and one that I’ve seen play out in many ways over the years. At the end of the day, the best “flex time” is the time created from owning your own business. Then, the only one to say no is you!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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