A new study has found that men who request a more flexible work schedule are more likely to be approved than women who request the same thing. Oh joy.
Christin Munch, an assistant professor of sociology at Furman University, had 646 participants look at transcripts of conversations between a purported HR representative and an employee. Some conversations requested a "flexible work arrangement" in the form of either non-traditional work hours (coming in early/leaving early) or working form home a couple days a week. Other conversations made no mention of a flexible work arrangement. Other variables included the gender of the employee and the reason for the request (childcare).
The participants were then asked to evaluate the employees on various measures:
Among those who read the scenario in which a man requested to work from home for childcare related reasons, 69.7 percent said they would be "likely" or "very likely" to approve the request, compared to 56.7 percent of those who read the scenario in which a woman made the request. Almost a quarter—24.3 percent—found the man to be "extremely likeable," compared to only 3 percent who found the woman to be "extremely likeable." And, only 2.7 percent found the man "not at all" or "not very" committed, yet 15.5 percent found the woman "not at all" or "not very" committed.
So what's going on here? It seems pretty clear that the tired old sexist ideas of women in the work place are still pervasive and still leave women at a disadvantage.