According to a survey 23% of women will chose to leave their careers in order to start a family.
The sector skills council for creative media has revealed that women are aware of the sacrifices they have to make in family and relationships in their chosen career path which affects their longevity in a high powered position.
Skillset, which has been conducting employment consensuses on the creative media industries since 1999, has revealed that less than a quarter of women have dependent children under the age of 16 compared to just over a third of all men.
However the survey conducted through interviews; focus groups; and expert interpretation, reveals that employees are not aware of maternity provision their employers provide.
Fears that they will be unable to reduce their working hours or return to high paid work has meant that both men and women are delaying starting a family.
It has been noted that 51% of women over 35 are under-represented.
Skillset is confident that there are just 51% of women over that age of 35 compared to 64% of men in the workplace. This is said to be due to more women leaving work before or during middle age so that they can start a family.
The desire for women to start a family has affected their representation in higher positions. They are aware, when entering a career, that they will be unable to sustain a long-term, high-powered position without making sacrifices to personal relationships and family.
Returning to work
And returning to work after having a family has further failed to accommodate flexible hours necessary in bringing up a family.
Most men and women have been unable to reduce their working hours after having children and have frequently opted for a change in career path or stopping work altogether.
According to Skillsets 2008 consensus, 38% of women (34%) have turned to freelance work where hours can be more favourable to workers with dependent children.
But don’t get too fooled by freelance. Many women have reported that combining a freelance career with raising a family is particularly “onerous due to uncertain and long hours, unpredictable timing of contracts and so forth” says Skillset.
Allegedly, few women create long term career plans but recognise that pre-entry courses are beneficial in achieving a position in their desired company.
I can see this within myself. I do not really have any strong career plans although I know where I would like to be in life but I realise that this may not work out (although I remain determined to get to there at the moment) but also my views may change further down the line. I am still young and my opinions are constantly changing and I believe that this is a common concern among many young people.
I am aware that women are unable to achieve as high pay as men and that men have continuously dominated the most senior jobs. I believe this to be because men and women have different attributes that make them more appropriate to different positions.
Obviously I support women’s rights but there are varying skills that make some more adaptable to certain careers and certain positions. For example men are naturally, physically stronger and therefore make better labourers and workmen. Women have more maternalistic and emotional qualities and subsequently make better nurses. That’s just nature.
I think that within more creative careers and in the media the lines between men and women are more blurred and the results from Skillset’s consensus exemplify this: 42% women are in creative media careers. This is almost half of all creative media employees and considering that 46% of women make up the general workforce in the country, this gives little to moan about.
Men and women will always be different. The fact that the consensus results demonstrated that men are more willing to work with or under women than they were in older generations shows that society is more accepting of women but men will continuously dominate careers because, as a generalisation, their minds allow them to be more objective than women and I do not think that complaining about gender equality is necessary any more.