Post(s) tagged with "feminism"
Working from home is a luxury rarely enjoyed in non-creative industries, and when a policy is failing and costing a company money, it’s a rational business decision to do something about it.
- Elizabeth Spiers, Beware of broken glass: the media’s double standard for women at the top
Spiers does a good job of defending Marrisa Mayer’s decision to end distributed (‘remote’) work at Yahoo, and especially making the case of a double standard for women at the ‘top’. Much of the discourse swirling around the Yahoo brouhaha is explicitly about Mayer as a female role-model.
However, I’d like to make a few points.
Calling working at home (or out of the office) a ‘luxury’ is intentionally derogatory. For those caring for children or aging parents it is a huge benefit, but not a luxury. More importantly, for some people, if they could not work from home then they would be unable to work, because they simply cannot afford the costs involved with caring for those family members.
Secondly — and this is where feminism enters — those caregivers in America are largely women. It is generally women who have to shoulder the burden of caregiving. And, also note, women continue to be paid less for doing the same work as men, and are much more likely to work in industries and roles that pay less, like health care, teaching, and administration.
Last, US Census numbers show that working at home is prevalent in many industries (see below). For example, 846,000 sales people worked from home in 2010, and 956,000 support staff.
I don’t dispute that Mayer has the right to make this call, and she has real incentives to change the culture at Yahoo. But as I have suggested in a recent GigaOM Research post (see Cultural change is really complex contagion), this is probably not the best way to do that.
Web anthropologist, futurist, author. My focus is the future, and the tectonic forces pushing business, media, and society into an unclear and accelerating future. more.
Working on longer format projects, Sign up for the newsletter.
GigaOM Research analyst and curator.
Also writing beaconstreets.com.
Contact me. or ask me a question.
My Vizify profile.