A line in Amelia Torode’s latest blog post got me thinking about how social media and social networks could have an important role to play in improving equality in the workplace.
Despite a raft of legislation the UK’s employment landscape is far from equal and the gap between pay and opportunities between men and women remains far too great.
There are lots of reasons why there aren’t enough women at senior levels and those that are there don’t earn as much, on average, as men. One reason is that at the moment women are disadvantaged because they have gaps in their careers because of maternity leave. I’ve long advocated that one way to improve this is not just to make paid paternity leave available to fathers, but to make it compulsory. That way you equalise the career gaps and as a massive bonus dads get to spend more time with their children.
What Amelia said that made me think was this:
‘Through Twitter I feel plugged in and connected to the advertising – digital – comms community that I am a part of so although motherhood is all consuming at the moment I don’t feel cut off. This has to be a fairly new phenomena – the way that social platforms enable non-working mothers to stay in the loop professionally.’
She’s right. Through social media and social networks, both external such as Twitter and internal like Yammer, you can enjoy your family life and stay plugged into your career. Through online trade media you can stay on top of what’s happening in your industry when you’re no longer seeing the magazines that used to come round the office.
I know some people will start complaining about work/life balance and work intruding into family life. But there’s a lot of nonsense about work/life balance with most ‘experts’ putting far more emphasis on work or life, when the really important emphasis is balance. New communications tools let me enjoy more family time, not less. They are not intrusive, but liberating.
So the question is can the internet and social web help to improve the disgraceful inequality in our workplaces?