A new study by the UK's Trades Union Congress has found that if you're a single woman in your 30s, you're putting in way more unpaid overtime than men — or working mothers. Nearly 40% work additional hours, compared with 26% of single men the same age, reports Guardian. The TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, says: "Women who want to get on at work need to put in longer hours than anyone else, but as soon as they have children they no longer have that option. It is hardly surprising that the senior levels of most organizations are male and that the gender pay gap stubbornly persists." But, point out women's activists, the system itself is unfair. "Women are being presented with impossible choices between caring for a family or maximizing career opportunities in a workplace that measures performance by the number of hours put in," says Kat Banyard, of the Fawcett Society (an organization dedicated to closing the inequality gap between men and women). Meanwhile, something known as "maternal profiling" is on the rise.
Some companies discriminate against women who have, or will have, children. Kiki Peppard, a 53-year-old switchboard operator, tells Guardian she was rejected from 19 job interviews in a row because she was a single mother. And research backs her up: A recent US shows that mothers are 79% less likely to be hired than non-mothers with equal employment experience. But some women feel like when working moms need to take care of their motherhood duties, their office duties get dumped on those without children.
In Marie Claire's "Cubicle Coach" column, a reader writes, "I get that juggling parenting responsibilities and work is tough, but I shouldn't have to pick up the slack for my overextended colleagues, should I?" The Cubicle Coach claims that "Those with kids use the workday more efficiently than most." I ever so respectfully call bullshit! I have definitely worked with slacker moms and hardworking singles (as well as slacker singles and hardworking moms). But usually, everyone is working hard and stretched too thin. If you're single, don't employers assume you can work more, because, what else are you doing? But if you work and have kids — basically two full-time jobs — isn't it only right that you take advantage of any chance to make your flesh and blood a priority?