Community spoke in the debate on flexible working at the recent Trades Union Congress in Brighton. The modern union was highlighting the fact that men are less likely to make requests to work flexibly. Community rep at NSPCC, Susan Galloway, spoke on behalf of the union at the annual event, which brings union delegates together from across the UK.
Susan told the conference that men are twice as likely as women to have a request for flexible working refused going on to describe how occupational segregation still continues and exacerbates the problems:
“The idea of men’s jobs and women’s jobs is alive and well, even in the minds of very young children. And that segregation is a major factor in the gender pay gap.”
Susan pointed out that as long as men’s jobs pay more than women’s then it will make sense in most working families for the woman to work part-time rather than the man. She went on to argue that these expectations that men don’t work flexibly is reinforced in other areas of the workforce such as senior leadership positions.
“If we want to acheive equality both at the workplace and in the home, we must continue to actively challenge gender stereotypes. We must challenge these through the education system…and on into training and apprenticeships.”
Community is calling for more action to increase flexible working opportunities for all workers.