workingmums in top jobs .. or not

today’s media talks about workingmums and their chances of getting to the top . well to be fair the story isn’t that specific- the news is that there is a decline in the number of women (mums or not we assume) in the top jobs.

ok so first of all we might question the definition of top jobs … income is no doubt central to the definition used in the survey, but perhaps when we talk top jobs we should think about a wider range of criteria and then once we’ve got to a sensible definition of top jobs, then we can question whether women , or perhaps in this context, workingmums, have access to those jobs.

i sometimes talk with workingdad about what makes a good (possibly top) job. i’ve pretty much settled on three criteria : for me a top job in essence pays well, contributes something good to the community , and is fun (this is probably something to do with the people you work with). so straight away some of those top jobs the survey refers to, probably get excluded from my version of the list of top jobs…and the good news is that possibly some of the jobs workingmums do hold, perhaps emerge higher in the list by virtue of their contribution to society and (hopefully ) enjoyability.

so how do workingmums get access to such jobs?  well the discourse in today’s media covers all the points which have been raised in this blog series including do workingmums want them? (they might want my definition of a top job, but a top job defined only by buckets of salary might be less appealing); is flexibility of working sufficiently available? are structures of working defined by a male orientation to working practices and changes to those structures  resisted by those (dominant) males ?  personally i can’t think of any job which couldn’t have flexibility of working built into  it. every job should be supported by other roles in the organisation, and it’s such a supportive , collaborative structure which allows any single role to be flexibly delivered. yes that even applies to gordon brown and his cabinet (when they’re in supportive mode).

btw talking of politics, it is of course interesting to see a discussion about women’s access to top jobs appear during the same week in which we see sarah palin, seemingly workingmum extraordinaire, in her pitch for the vp position. this workingmum was initially pleased to see her nomination, but the enthusiasm was somewhat dampened after the sight of  her perched on her bearskin (completed with head) sofa. the anti abortion; pro gun lobby; anti environmentalism; pro death penalty views don’t help either.

we will see if that workingmum does get access to a top job – and probably the establishment and this workngmum agree that it would indeed be a top job.

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