- Bargaineering - http://www.bargaineering.com/articles -

Women & Money: Technology Offers More Options for Working Mothers

March is Women’s History Month, and it’s interesting to have a look at whether or not women really have more work options now than they did in the past.

As a work from home mom, I know that technology has the potential to provide greater flexibility in our working lives. However, I’m a work from home mom who runs a freelancing business. I don’t have to report to an employer who wishes I spent more time at the office.

Recently, the furor over Marissa Mayer’s decision to ask telecommuters to come into the office [3] has led to a discussion about women, working from home, and workplace flexibility.

Editor’s Note: This is part two of our week-long series Women & Money [4] – focusing on the challenges women face today. Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In [5], and her subsequent media promotion blitz have inspired us to this create this week’s series and we hope you’ll join us in discussing these important issues.

Success Isn’t Always about Making More Money

LinkedIn conducted a global study of what women want out of work [6], and it looks as though flexibility to create the desired work/life balance [7] is the new definition of success. One of the questions asked by the LinkedIn study was the meaning of success. Respondents indicated that five to 10 years ago, success would have meant a higher salary (56%). Now, though, the feeling seems to be that money isn’t everything.

Now, 63% of respondents think that the right balance between work and personal life represents true success at work. This represents a shift in thinking that seems to be de-coupling the idea of money as the only measure of success and status. On top of that 65% of respondents point out that flexible work options are desirable. A further 21% of respondents indicate that flexibility isn’t important to them now, but when a family comes along, it will be important. That means that 86% of women from the study think that flexibility at work is important when you have a family.

Technology Enables More Women to Earn Money from Home

Yahoo’s decision is unlikely to get rid of telecommuting altogether, and there are options for women who want to work from home. Many professions, from law to customer service, provide opportunities for telecommuting at least a couple days a week.

On top of that, many women find that they can start their own side gigs [8] with the help of technology. So, even you aren’t officially in the workforce and telecommuting for your job, there is a chance that you can earn money anyway, providing you the option of contributing to the household income, if you want.

The rise of the Mommy Blogger is just part of the evidence that there are new options for women who want to earn money while they stay at home. An infographic commissioned by H&R Block [9] points out that the average annual income for a household containing a Mommy Blogger is $84,000 — $14,000 higher per year than a household without a Mommy Blogger. On top of that, Mommy Bloggers are more likely to have completed a college education [10].

Flexibility Doesn’t Always Mean More Opportunity

So, does all of this mean that women have more options when it comes to earning more money on the job? There certainly seem to be more opportunities to earn money from home. But the ability to be flexible might come at a cost in other ways. According to a recent study released by UC Berkeley [11], this flexibility comes at the cost of promotions and raises at work. Instead of looking for career advancement, women are still largely defined by whether or not they are at home. So, even though working from home at least some of the time can mean more flexibility, it might not always mean more choices when it comes to a career path.

What do you think? Do you think technology provides more options for women? Or is telecommuting only continuing to hold women back in their careers?

(Photo: Monkey Mash Button [12])