5000 mentors or free childcare?
UK Home Secretary Teresa May has to be applauded for continuing to bang her drum for women despite her (male) colleagues’ attempts to do away with policies that would help women get back into employment and do more whilst they’re there. (That’s Steve Hilton I’m thinking about). Among the stats Ms May revealed in her speech on 4/11/11 on women and the economy there were three stunners:
- 700,000 women are ‘stuck’ in part time work despite wanting to do more hours
- Women’s unemployment is costing the UK economy up to £21B/year in lost skills
- 5000 business mentors promised for female entrepreneurs
My thoughts on this are 1) wow, this is refreshing: women seemed to have struggled for so long to get PT work. Of course, when she stays ‘stuck’ this conjurs up grim thoughts of women having to do work that’s beneath them because YES we ARE still struggling to get quality part time work. Or are we? I haven’t made time to read the report from the Government Equalities Office “Quality Part Time Work: A Review of the Evidence” yet – if you have or get there before me, do let me know the answer.
On point 2) I can well believe this. Staggering, staggering. But does every woman with all these skills actually WANT to be using them? Some women really do want to be at home, nurturing their families and actively CHOOSE to do this full time. They don’t want a pathway to the board or even to return at the level they were before children. That said, even just one woman at home banging her head against a Lego brick tower whilst dreaming of work, is too much of a waste for me. I think we need to get better at putting ourselves forward as well as looking to the Government to provide incentives to businesses to help more women get back to work.
3) Hmmm, mentors can be powerful but really I’d rather the Government chopped a huge part of my childcare bill to allow me to get on and grow my business. Perhaps that’s because I’ve grown a great circle of support around me.
What do you think? What do you want the Government to open it’s purse for?