WORK - LIFE BALANCE OF WORKING WOMEN: A STUDY OF CORPORATE

This study further established as shown in Table 1.1 that 56% and 12% of the respondents agree and strongly agree respectively that they find it difficult making time for hobbies, leisure activities and maintaining relationships with their friends and their extended family. Only 20% and 12% of the respondents disagree and remained neutral respectively. This finding goes to buttress the negative and harmful effects that work-life especially in the corporate environment affects women. This finding actually shows and confirms that all aspects of women’s lives are affected by virtue of finding themselves in the corporate world.

This finding also implies that women pay a high price for venturing into the corporate world especially from the perspective of their social lives.

It was therefore disturbing and worrying to find out as shown in Table 1.10 that over about 60% of the respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that they wish they could reduce their working hours and stress levels but they had no control over the situation for now while only 29% of the respondents either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

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This finding implies that the respondents are helpless with their plights and that they can do very little to have control over the situation.

As pointed out by Reddy et al. (2010), the fact that women have shifted to the corporate world does not mean they do not value and cherish their social lives and it also does not mean that they are willing to shirk their matrimonial and parenting responsibilities. The social expectations of women to keep homes have not waned.

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Women are therefore torn between their matrimonial and parenting obligations and meeting the high demands of their work-places.

4.3 The Factors That Influence the Work-Life Balance of Corporate Women

This section presented the findings in relation to the second objective of determining the main factors that influence the work-life balance of Ghanaian corporate women. To effectively operationalize this objective.

Table 1. 111 The Influence of Career Advancement on Work-Life Balance as a Corporate Woman

Frequency (N) Percentage (%)
Strongly disagree 5.0
Disagree 5.0
Not sure 6.0
Agree 41.0
Strongly agree 43.0
Total 100.0

As shown in Table 1.12, it was gathered that the single most significant factor that influences the work-life balance of Ghanaian corporate women is career development. Investigations in this study indicated that 43 of the respondents representing 43.0% strongly agreed followed by 41 respondents representing 41.0% who agreed that career advancement influence their work-life balance as corporate women. Further, only 10 respondents representing 5.0% each disagreed and strongly disagreed that career advancement influence their work-life balance. Meanwhile, 6 persons, representing 6.0% were not sure. Source: Field Data, (2019).

This finding is key because career advancement is highly important in the life of every worker since it enables them to self-actualize and also enable employees to have a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment (Meister et al. 2010). This finding implies that the respondents have high career aspirations and these career aspirations push them to such an extent that they pay more attention to their work-place to the detriment of their matrimonial responsibilities and parenting. The need to stay relevant, respected and recognized sometimes become so important that corporate women over concentrate on their careers to the neglect of their families (Inamdar & Nagendra, 2017).

As found and pointed out by Meister et al. (2010), women who seek permission to go on long leave including maternity leave and not coming to work early or on weekends are seen as not being ambitious. Such women are often perceived as being lazy. To avoid being labeled as lazy or unambitious, corporate women go to the extent of delaying when to have babies, spend less time with their families and spend more time at the work-place (Sturges & Guest, 2004). Unfortunately, such decisions and actions lead to delays in marriage, marital challenges and even leading to divorce. This finding supports what Inamdar & Nagendra (2017), concluded to the effect that women tend to be more resented, isolated and made to feel guilty any time they seek approval from top management for more flexible working schedules to enable them have a more balanced work-life. As pointed out by Sturges & Guest (2004), being ambitious and career oriented comes at a high price especially for married women.

The study also found out that the second most important factor influencing work-life balance has to do with the organizational policies, directives, rules and regulations that govern each worker in the organization (Figure 1.1). In this findings, 40 respondents representing 40.0% strongly agreed that company policies influence their work-life balance. For instance, some women revealed that their company’s policies allows only 10 days of annual leave which to them is not enough to rest and spend time with their families, especially their children. Others especially from the banking sector also confessed that their company’s policies forced them to work on weekends. This was followed by 35 persons representing 35.0% who also agreed. On the other hand, 7 % strongly disagreed and 4.0% disagreed, while 14.0% were not sure.

Even though it has generally been stated that the main responsibility of having a fairly balanced work-life is the sole responsibility of the employees, it has rather been found by several authors such as Angerson et al. (2002) and Valk and Srinivasan (2011) that it is firms, their internal policies and general culture that influence the appropriateness of work-life balance. This in effect means that women’s work-life balance is to a large extent influenced by the structures, polices and directions of firms and that women who find themselves in these policies can do very little to change them. This finding again implies that where firms have strict policies and regulations which mandate women to work within certain parameters, they are usually helpless and cannot change these policies.

According to Valk and Srinivasan (2011), for these organizations, it is either employees conform to laid-down rules; policies and regulations or they lose their jobs. Under these conditions, women are left with no choice other than conforming which may entail working for long hours, on weekends, on holidays and any other day or time as prescribed by the firm. As pointed out by Inamdar and Nagendra (2017), women find it almost impossible to fight for women-friendly policies because it usually incurs the wrath and displeasure of their male counterparts as well as sections of top management. This finding further supports what Jones et al. (2013) and Meister et al. (2010) opined that co-workers, peers and supervisors can be impediments to any organizational policy that seeks to change certain policies that will favour women.

As displayed in Figure 1.2. The study also found out that gender stereotypes was the third most significant factor affecting work-life balance of corporate women. It came out that although 51% and 24% strongly agree and agree that gender stereotype has an influence on work-life balance, 19% and 4% expressed strong disagreement and disagreed to the question on gender stereotype. Only 2% were not sure. This implies that the respondents recognizing that they are naturally placed at a disadvantaged position by being women and seen as vulnerable in society, push them to work twice as hard as compared to their male counterparts. This finding supports what Silbermann (2015) established to the effect that biological distinctions and differences lead to the separation of the two sexes or genders and that being a woman is accompanied by physiological, psychological and biological differences such as maternity. Giving birth for instance means that women become emotionally attached to their children but as a result of their tight job schedules, they are unable to provide maximum attention and care to their children. The gender of women therefore places enormous pressure on women in terms of surmounting domestic obligations as well as being productive at the work-place.

Table 1. 12 Competition Influences Your Work-Life Balance as a Corporate Woman

Frequency (N) Percentage (%)
Strongly disagree 33
Disagree 30
Not sure 20
Agree 9
Strongly agree 8
Total 100

Source: Field Data, (2019).

Further, the research discovered as illustrated in Table 1.13 that competition is the least factor that influences the work-life balance of corporate women as only 8% of the respondents strongly agreed and 9% agreed to it. 33% and 30% strongly disagreed and disagreed that competition influences work life balance of corporate women, with 20% of respondents not being sure of the factor. Additionally, it was gathered that most respondents will rather support their co-workers and peers so they could all excel. This finding implies that competition to excel and be counted among the best at their work places does not influence the work-life balance of women.

4.4 The Influence of Parenting and Domestic Responsibilities on Corporate Women’s Performance and Productivity at Work

This section presented the findings in relation to the third objective of finding out the influence of parenting and domestic responsibilities on corporate women’s performance and productivity at work.

As illustrated Figure 1.3 it was found out that parenting and domestic responsibilities negatively affect the output and productivity of the respondents. It was specifically found that 43% and 20% of the respondents agreed and strongly agreed respectively while 18% and 9% disagreed and strongly disagreed respectively. Only 10% were not sure. This finding implies that the burden of parenthood coupled with domestic responsibilities negatively affects the ability of the respondents to be productive at their work-place.

This finding again buttresses the work-life imbalance that has been found throughout this study and therefore echoes what authors such as Almani et al. (2012) and Uwe et al. (2008) that found and concluded that failing to ensure a balance between parenting and work-place balance may lead to outcomes such as stress, tiredness and anxiety which may be carried to the work place and ultimately affecting the productivity of women.

Table 1. 13 Parenting, Domestic Responsibilities and Career Aspirations

Frequency (N) Percentage (%)
Strongly disagree 9
Disagree 10
Not sure 11
Agree 42
Strongly agree 28
Total 100

Source: Field Data, (2019).

It was also found that an overwhelming majority of the respondents think their parenting and domestic responsibilities does not allow them to achieve their career aspirations (Table 1.14). More specifically, 42% and 28% of the respondents agreed and strongly agreed respectively on the issue while 10% and 9% disagreed and strongly disagreed respectively. Only 11% were not sure. It was similarly found as shown in Table 4.6 that 40% and 27% of the respondents agreed and strongly agreed respectively that they would have advanced the corporate ladder faster, had it not been because of their parenting and domestic responsibilities while 15% and 6% disagreed and strongly disagreed respectively. Only 12% were not sure.

These findings imply that the women contacted have not been able to balance the demands of the work place against the expectations of their families and thereby this is affecting their career aspirations and progress. These findings therefore support what Inamdar & Nagendra (2017) found that parenting and domestic responsibilities when not effectively managed has the tendency of affecting the overall productivity of female employees and ultimately, affecting their progress up the corporate ladder.

Figure 1.4 illustrate that most women would have climbed the corporate ladder easily and faster had it not been for parenting and domestic responsibilities. According to the table 40% and 27% of the respondents agreed and strongly agreed respectively that they would have advanced the corporate ladder faster, had it not been because of their parenting and domestic responsibilities while 15% and 6% disagreed and strongly disagreed respectively. Only 12% were not sure.

Table 1. 14 Parenting, Domestic Responsibilities and Career Aspirations

Frequency (N) Percentage (%)
Strongly disagree 7
Disagree 10
Not sure 10
Agree 41
Strongly agree 32
Total 100

Source: Field Data, (2019).

Further revelations in Table 1.15 illustrate that 41% and 32% of the respondents agreed and strongly agreed respectively that their colleagues who do not have parenting and domestic responsibilities are more productive than them, while 10% and 7% disagreed and strongly disagreed respectively. Only 10% were not sure of themselves as to whether women who are not parenting are more productive than those parenting.

It was found out that most of the respondents employ different strategies to ensure work-life balance as illustrated in Table 1.7 and Figure 1.5. These strategies include planning (23%), seeking external help – i.e nannies and house helps (27%), quitting their jobs (33%) and the dependence on external family members (17%). It was further disclosed that those who seek external help do so because they either don’t have their relatives (external families) close to them in the same region or have already lost their parents who they trust can offer help in taking care of their children.

4.5 Suggestions to Facilitate Positive Work-Life Balance

This section of the study sought to identify the mechanisms used by working women to manage work-life balance.

Table 1. 5 It Is Best To Have Women Do Something On Their Own Where They Can Also Make Time for the Home

Frequency (N) Percentage (%)
Strongly disagree 5
Disagree 8
Not sure 11
Agree 60
Strongly agree 16
Total 100

Source: Field Data, (2019).

As illustrated in Table 1.16, the study further disclosed, that majority of the respondents (60%) prefer women parenting to have their own small businesses in order to make time for the home. 16% of the respondents backed this idea by strongly agreeing to it. Meanwhile, 8% and 5% disagreed and strongly disagreed.

Table 1. 16 Best to Go Back to the Traditional Era, Where Women Stay at Home to Take Care of the Children While the Men go out to Work for Money

Frequency (N) Percentage (%)
Strongly disagree 22
Disagree 17
Not sure 0
Agree 23
Strongly agree 38
Total 100

Source: Field Data, (2019).

It was also discovered that most of the respondents agree (38%) and strongly agree (22%) that it is important for society to consider going back to the traditional era where women will stay home to cater for the children and domestic responsibilities. This was backed with reasons such as women will be able to have enough time and give attention to the home as in the olden days. On the other hand, 22% and 17% of the respondents strongly disagree and disagree that women should stay home completely to manage the home, with their reason being that such women will become highly reluctant in creating abilities to develop themselves to meet the current global and economic trends of development.

Table 1. 17 Corporate Organizations Should Come Up With Strategies To Support Women Parenting In Order To Help Them Balance Their Work-Life

Frequency (N) Percentage (%)
Strongly disagree 4
Disagree 12
Not sure 12
Agree 36
Strongly agree 28
Total 100

Source: Field Data, (2019).

Majority or the respondents agree (36%) and strongly agree (28%) that corporate organizations should come up with strategies to support women parenting in order to help them balance their work-life effectively. Only, 4% strongly disagreed and 12% disagreed to this idea, with 20% being neutral. Others also agree and strongly agree that organizations and employers should come up with strategies to support women parenting to perform better while performing domestic roles. These respondents suggested employers should establish day care centers to enable mothers have a closer eye on their children (under 5years).

Table 1. 18 Government Policies to Support Working Women

Frequency (N) Percentage (%)
Strongly disagree 8
Disagree 12
Not sure 4
Agree 44
Strongly agree 32
Total 100

Source: Field Data, (2019).

Finally, the respondents also agree (44%) and strongly agree (32%) that there must be effective policies by government and employers to support working mothers in the corporate environment. Respondents suggested the amendment of policies for the time schedule of working mothers to be expended and extended to cover mothers with children below 12years. They expressed that these mothers should be allowed to start work an hour after normal working hours or close an hour earlier to enable them to see to the home. Only 12% and 8% disagree and strongly disagree to this idea, indicating that there are already policies supporting women parenting such as the 3months maternity leave offered every woman after delivery.

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WORK - LIFE BALANCE OF WORKING WOMEN: A STUDY OF CORPORATE. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/work-life-balance-of-working-women-a-study-of-corporate-example-essay

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