Childless women 'work harder than mums'?

Women without children apparently resent their colleagues - although before long, it won't just be kids we have to rush off for...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 14 Aug 2013

Given the storm over misogynistic threats on Twitter, in-fighting within the sisterhood seems rather pointless at the moment. Nevertheless, new research has been published which suggests a simmering resentment between women with kids and their childless colleagues.

According to the study by Red magazine, four in 10 working women without children think they work harder than their colleagues who have kids – while 42% are annoyed their co-workers’ holiday requests are given priority over their own.

And although only 4% of mums think it riles their colleagues when they have to take time off to look after their kids, 41% of those without children actually resent having to take up the slack.

Less surprisingly, given the number of men who are pretty open about using the office as a place to hide from tantrums and snotty noses, 86% of mums regard the office as ‘a secret relief and a rest’ (although 59% say they feel ‘overwhelmingly guilty’ about not spending enough time at home).

The results aren’t particularly ground-breaking: workers have been grumbling about (male and female) colleagues rushing off to look after their kids since the first time a toddler got something stuck up its nose.

But what is worth considering is that, as the population ages, it won’t just be kids that workers are worrying about: ageing parents will become just as much of a liability. A piece in this week’s Mail on Sunday is a case in point: ‘childless and single’ worker Zoe Clarke-Powell complained she had been discriminated against when her workplace was begrudging about allowing her time off to settle her father into a new nursing home.

‘I know that if my request had been to take care of a child, it would never have been questioned,’ she said.

Still, at least single ladies are willing to acknowledge one thing about mums: kids are hard work. According to the Red research, half of childless women say they wouldn’t swap places with their colleagues because they reckon it’s like having ‘two full-time jobs’. Amen to that.

- Image credit: Flickr/GSCSNJ

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