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Flexible Schedule Option Tops WorldWIT's Working Moms' Mother's Day Wish List
May 6, 2003
by Kristi Hughes

Boulder, CO - April 29, 2003 - What would most working mothers like most this Mother's Day? Flexible work schedules and the ability to work from home top the list of most-wanted benefits, reports a new survey from WorldWIT (www.worldwit.org), the global discussion network for women in business and technology.

WorldWIT surveyed its 25,000-member community, spanning 20 countries worldwide, to find out which employer benefits and practices would be most effective in lightening the load for working mothers. "Flexible work schedules" easily topped the list with 61% of members naming it the most valuable benefit. Next was "the ability to work from home," named the most valuable benefit by 15% of respondents. "Onsite daycare" was the third most popular benefit, with nine percent of the vote.

It's clear that most companies still fail to offer flextime to their employees, despite the fact that it's a relatively easy, low-cost benefit that could make life less stressful for working moms and increase their productivity.

"How can it be that it's a new millennium and we still don't have flexibility in our work schedules?" one respondent questioned.

When asked what they see as the greatest obstacles for working mothers, WorldWIT members replied "lack of time," "the difficulty of balancing conflicting responsibilities" and "the scarcity of management support for working mothers."

"My boss doesn't understand why I can't bring a sick child to day care," noted one respondent. Said another, "This company is successful, but they somehow can't figure out how to make a room or even a closet available for moms who need to pump milk during the day."

"Business leaders still have a long way to go toward supporting working parents," says Liz Ryan, WorldWIT founder and CEO. "Women feel that the message from employers is, 'You've got a responsible job and a good paycheck, you're getting close to pay equity with men-so what are you complaining about?"

An entrepreneur, former corporate executive and mother of five small children, Ryan started the WorldWIT community to give a voice to the many successful but stressed-out working women she knew. Launched in Chicago in 1999, WorldWIT has grown to include over 50 moderated email discussion groups around the world. Membership is free, supported by corporate sponsors.

"The real message from this survey is that working moms are functioning in a highly sub-optimal way," says Ryan. "When a fairly simple accommodation like flexibility in scheduling work hours is so difficult to achieve, working moms go underground - they try to 'tough it out.' Yet, they do so at a cost not only to their own families and to society as a whole, but to employers as well. Companies who fail to offer any family-friendly benefits may find that their stance costs them dearly in the form of stress claims, lower productivity, and lost time."

She adds, "It's not just a personal issue for individual employees-it's an economic concern for businesses as a whole. Support for working parents has got to get back on the agenda for corporate leaders."

Reprinted with permission from WorldWIT.

Founded in Chicago in 1999, WorldWIT is the world's largest online networking organization for professional women in business and technology, formed for women to share advice and ideas with other women eager to "connect." Its founder, Liz Ryan, was the first female vice president at U.S. Robotics, and is a popular columnist, speaker and "at work issues" expert. Today, WorldWIT includes more than 20,000 members in 54 markets and provides a forum for women to share career and lifestyle concerns related to the career and lifestyle concerns. The membership is comprised of women who range from corporate CEOs to home-based consultants and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.worldwit.org.

For more information on this survey or to speak with Liz Ryan, contact Kristi Hughes at kristi@gregoryfca.com.

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