Does Teleworking Promote Stereotypes in Women's Roles?

While it has its advantages, this new way of working can also entrenched gender roles that society needs to change.

The Woman Post | Ariel Cipolla

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We are in an epochal change with respect to work. In the wake of the pandemic, millions of workers around the world have begun to incorporate the home-office mode into their routines. This has also affected thousands of women, who, according to a report by the consulting firm Savills Aguirre Newman, are happy with this modality.

According to this research, the segment that most prefers this change of outlook with respect to housework are women with an average age of 39 years. The reasons are various: 61% of them can take care of the family, 48% argue that they avoid transportation costs, and 48% say they prefer the convenience of flexible schedules, something that allows them, for example, to practice a sport or hobby in the middle of the day.

However, the main problem seems to occur in that 61% of women accept teleworking not only for convenience but also to take care of household and family chores. In other words, we are facing a new modality that could reaffirm gender roles that we want to change. Let's see why.

Women and Gender Roles in the Workplace

The first thing to say is that it took many years for women to become empowered in terms of work. For decades, society had assigned them the role of "housewife," since it was the man who had to leave the house to work and, consequently, bring food to the home.

Also read: WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO REMOTE WORK AFTER THE MASSIVE VACCINATION?

This meant that many women were unable to realize their dreams, such as studying for a university degree or developing professionally in the desired environment. The "obligations" of taking care of the family, doing the household chores and even the day-to-day business seemed to be assigned to them.

However, as the market began to incorporate more and more women and they positioned themselves as a truly productive labor force, they began to spend more time outside the home. Consequently, household chores were divided equally with the other members of the family. If necessary, a household assistant could be hired.

When the pandemic began and the home office started to become a trend, there may have been a setback in terms of these advances. We refer to the fact that being physically at home, women cannot devote themselves exclusively to their jobs, but also feel that they have to be on top of other tasks, such as childcare or housekeeping.

This situation can perpetuate the role of caregiver, in the sense that many bosses - and even family members themselves - consider that you can stay at home and do other activities at the same time. In other words, they consider that the flexibility that teleworking allows implies having two responsibilities at the same time.

Changing workplaces does not necessarily mean assigning new home-related responsibilities. This false belief may come from conservative-minded families who believe that working from home does not involve the same effort as working in person. Some even believe that being in front of a computer is "not work."

Therefore, in those households where the man continues to exercise his responsibilities outside the home, but the woman works from home, it is likely that this person believes that she should take care of all the household chores just because she is there. In other words, she may use the working day to, for example, take care of the children, clean the house or do the shopping.

To combat these stereotypes, it will be essential to set limits on the burden of responsibility. Although it is true that working from home allows for greater flexibility in solving tasks, in no case should this become a "new job" that generates a lower allocation of obligations for men.

If the woman has a space in her workday to wash the dishes, it will be her decision to do so or not. When she finishes her workday, she will be in the same condition as the man, who will return home after a day's work, so both should share the housework.

The home office allows great freedoms for people, who love to work from the warmth of their rooms. However, in no case should it be a reason for the burden of tasks among household members to be disproportionate, because working from home also means being focused on things that go beyond the family.

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