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Flexible work and the gender Impact of COVID 19

We are thrilled to be a headline sponsor at the Flexpo Business Digital Summit on 16th September where our CEO, Virginia Herlihy will be sharing her expertise on a panel discussing the impact of COVID-19 on gender equality and working parents, and how we can accelerate the pace of change through flexible working.

As part of the event build-up, Virginia recently spent time with Madeleine Cole, founder of the Flexpo event series, discussing the gender impact of COVID-19 and the longer-term implications and actions needed to achieve greater gender parity at work and home.

Whilst the mass adoption of remote and flexible work over the past few months was driven by necessity rather than design, it has undoubtedly accelerated a more flexible approach to how many roles can be performed on a permanent basis. Many previously held beliefs about flexible work largely being a benefit for working mothers have been challenged as men and women have engaged equally and seen the benefits.

However, as has been well documented, men and women (particularly if they are working parents) haven’t been equally impacted. Gender stereotypes have tended to be reinforced with women undertaking significantly more caring responsibilities while also being more likely to be furloughed or made redundant.  We therefore shouldn’t be lulled into thinking this experience provides a blueprint for the way forward. Working remotely when all childcare was shut down is not a true reflection of how a flexible working revolution could work to enhance gender parity.

In this interview, Virginia highlights some of the actions individuals and organisations should focus upon to turn this unplanned forced experiment in flexible work to a planned driver of gender parity and greater business success.

About Flexpo Business 

Flexpo Business brings together CEO’s, COO’s, HRD’s, HR professionals, Heads of D&I, and Heads of Flexwork Policy: connecting them with technology, hardware, coaching, education and change management experts to understand how to navigate and steer through the rapidly changing world of work.

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