Friday, October 24, 2014

Women Make Tough Choices When it Comes to Family and Wellness

Working mothers make difficult trade offs when it comes to career and family. While trying to pursue career aspirations, mothers often try to balance the responsibilities of being a parent.  

Workplace policies aren't always supportive of a healthy balance between the two. Inflexible work arrangements mean mothers make hard choices when it comes to taking care of a sick child or earning a paycheck. 

A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank, sheds light on some of these trade offs that working women (now comprising about half of the US workforce) must make.

In the majority of households across the country, women manage health care decisions for the family. Roughly three out of every four women decide on a doctor, take children to appointments, and then execute a health provider's recommendations on care.  

When doing these things though, many women take time off from work. And 60 percent of women who take time off are not compensated.

Such inflexibility has a number of ripple effects:

1. Women lose out on valuable pay, which is already not on par with their male counterparts.

2. Seeking health care turns into a last resort. Out of fear of losing pay, women may opt to forgo seeking heath services for a child.

3. Decisions related to health and illness are major sources of stress by themselves. Work challenges and trade offs only add to this stress.

The good news is that more employers are thinking about employee wellness. Organization policies and culture, however, don't always find their way into these conversations. If wellness is indeed a priority, we need to think about the ecosystem of factors that influence our entire physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.     

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