There is no gender pay gap, but that doesn’t mean the workplace is fair to women (Part 2/3)

February 5, 2018

So how can we make the workplace more friendly to women, esp. women with children? Here are a few ideas:

Baby on board

One businesswoman, I’ve always looked up to was Rachel Zoe, she seems to have it all —the man, the business, the baby. But she became even more of a hero to me when she opened a nursery in her office about two years ago. About the decision, she said, “I wanted to create an environment where these new mothers wouldn’t have to make a choice between career and motherhood.” Opening nurseries in the workplace would make it easier for new moms to return to work, it allows mothers to both stays engaged in the workforce and in their child’s life, especially for those mothers who may want to breastfeed. In my alma mater, Teacher’s College Columbia University there were nursing rooms where the mother could feed their children. These spaces say, “you are welcome”, spaces that are welcoming to moms are women-friendly work environments.


Flextime allows women to work the same amount of hours during the week but within their schedule. A mom with young children may opt out of the higher position at work or may cut back in her hours to spend more time with her children but she may not have to make that choice if her time was flexible. If she could work longer hours on fewer days, or work evenings instead of daytime or work weekends instead of weekdays, etc. she may be more able to stay in the workforce. Many women prefer balance and therefore would greatly benefit from flexible hours.

Work from home

Can she work from home? While many workplaces still demand their workers come in from 9-5pm it often isn’t necessary. If an employees job is largely comprised of using a computer and they have significant family responsibilities (like a new mom), why not let that employee work from home? If the work is quality and turned in on time, what difference does it make? A slight alternative to this is allowing employers to spend part of their workday working from home and to be present in the office on set days and hours, example, they must come in for 2 hours on Monday and Friday, that way they’re available for things like staff meetings but are able to work from home and attend to family needs most of the week.


Some women are forced to leave their job if they aren’t able to work full time. This all or nothing attitudes pushes women out of the workplace unnecessarily, find ways to allow her to work part time especially after childbirth, other employees may be happy to pick up the slack and extra pay until she’s able to come back full time.

So, while I strongly believe women-friendly policies must focus on women with families since that is when women are most likely to “fall off” their career track and that is the group amongst women the largest pay gap as compared to men, some may still be tempted to ask How do we explain the gender pay gap between single men and women? That’s where I believe gendered differences do in fact play a significant role.


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