More Women are Laboring on the Job While They’re in Active Labor — But Why?
A spate of recent news reports highlights how difficult it is for women to find a healthy work-life balance.
- Moneyish writes about an uptick in the number of women who continue to work while in active labor.
- A leadership coach says she believes it’s “worth it” to “have less face time with children” to have “worry-free time to do [her] work.”
- Lyft praised one of its drivers last year (in a post that’s since been taken down) for continuing to ferry passengers around Chicago while having contractions before eventually driving herself to the hospital to deliver her baby.
- In a survey of professional women, one respondent said she “basically didn’t really see friends and family for six years” to devote more time to work.
- A CEO and mom of a newborn decided to forgo her paid leave in favor of bringing her 6-week-old daughter to work with her every day.
These choices might make sense if the big picture looked favorable for professional women.
But the truth is, the wage gap is still alive and well in the workplace.
Even more disappointing is that 20% of human resources managers admit “women do not make the same wages as their male counterparts at their organizations.”
It’s no wonder women feel compelled to put their careers ahead of their families or postpone long-term goals.
Why It’s Still Hard to be a Working Woman
Ladies, we can’t blame everything on the wage gap.
The gig economy isn’t doing us any favors either.
According to a 2016 Harvard study, “women are now more likely than men to be employed in an alternative work arrangement.”
I call b.s.
The gig economy has its benefits, but it’s not a panacea to work-life imbalance.
It’s hard enough to find that balance when you work for one company. Add a side hustle, freelance work or part-time gig, and it’s a wonder we have any life at all.
Real talk: There’s nothing glamorous about working ourselves into an early grave.
“The contrast between the gig economy’s rhetoric (everyone is always connecting, having fun, and killing it!) and the conditions that allow it to exist (a lack of dependable employment that pays a living wage) makes this kink in our thinking especially clear, “ says The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino.
The women in today’s workforce are more empowered than ever to make choices that fit our needs, desires and individual situations.
If you want to you work until your baby’s head is crowning or skip your partner’s birthday party to complete a freelance assignment, go for it.
If those decisions are anathema to you, that’s fine too!
- The wage gap isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon (unfortunately).
- The gig economy looks like it’s going to stick around, too.
Do what’s right for you and your family, and don’t let what you see on the news and social media make you feel like crap.
Your turn: What’s your take on the work-life balance outlook for women?
Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s enjoys balancing work with a glass of life-affirming cabernet on the weekend — a choice that’s served her well for 20 years.