(Women + STEM) x Hybrid Working = ?
Within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), recognised barriers to opportunity faced by women have been addressed. According to UCAS, The number of women gaining STEM degrees has been steadily increasing.
Though due to the more rapid growth in the number of men graduating in these subject areas, the percentage of women in STEM has fluctuated from 25%, down to 24%, and then up to 26% in 2019 where it stalled.
Platforming underrepresented voices within tech is increasing in priority for businesses. For example, with the backing of Google and global consulting and accounting giant PwC, EQL:HER recently published its “InspiringFifty” list naming 50 of the most influential women in the European Tech space.
“Stress and burnout are affecting more women
than men, and particularly more working mothers
than working fathers” - UNICEF Global Development
But, increasing the number of female STEM graduates, employees, and role models is only part of the battle.
Women are still leaving their career in STEM prematurely; this trend is dubbed the “leaky pipeline”.
A woman's work is never done.
With over half of all graduates being female, they will continue to enter the industry, and the free care they have typically provided within traditional family models will be challenged.
UNICEF Global Development Commons stated in 2021 that stress and burnout are affecting more women than men and particularly more working mothers than working fathers. The responsibility for solving this imbalance falls on employers and broader society.
“94% of women feel they risk
not being promoted should they
ask for more flexible options”
- Women @ Work Report, Deloitte.
Baroness Shafik, Director of London School of Economics and Political Science, has put forward a new ‘social contract’ where governments increase spend on child and elderly care to allow and encourage women to enter and stay in paid employment.
While waiting for governments to implement policy, over the last decade forward-thinking employers (many within the STEM ecosystem) utilised technology and increased trust to build flexible hybrid work-from-home models.
These had success but were not adopted en masse and remained good-in-theory rather than implemented practice. That was until March 2020. A recent Linkedin survey reveals that since COVID-19, nearly two-thirds (65%) of businesses note women have become more forthcoming in asking for flexible working.
However, the recent Women @ Work 2022 report by Deloitte states 9 out of 10 women believe their current day-to-day work schedules wouldn't be adjusted if they asked for a less traditional work pattern and 94% of women feel they risk not being promoted should they ask for more flexible options.
Deloitte does say that 44% of women surveyed now have a version of hybrid working. But most employers use flexible working to mean one thing - office hours but sometimes from home.
This is not the solution women need. For family life and work life to harmoniously coexist, the flexibility to chop up a traditional work day to make space for each is a much more attractive prospect.