More women are working in managerial positions
A woman's work is never done may sound like a tired old cliché - but it may be more true than ever.
According to a new survey a woman's working week is now half a day longer than it was five years ago - and that's without housework.
The increase is down to the growing number of women in more high-powered management and professional jobs, say researchers.
In contrast, the total number of hours worked by men has fallen slightly over the same period - from 45.5 hours to 44.8 hours.
Girls to work more
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development who conducted the survey, the shifting pattern is down to changes in the UK economy.
Average working week for all workers is 39.6 hours
Men's working hours have fallen slightly over the same period - from 45.5 to 44.8 hours
The working week for younger workers (18-24 year olds) is 36.3 hours
Almost a quarter have reduced working hours since 1998, largely due to parenthood
A quarter of workers now work long hours, compared to only 10% in 1998
And these are more likely to become more magnified, not less, in the future, as the UK economy shifting from male-dominated manufacturing to the more female-friendly service sector.
Mike Emmott, head of employee relations at CIPD, said: "If efforts to secure equal treatment for women at work are to bear fruit we can expect to see their experience of work and working patterns aligned more closely with those of men."
However, men are still working much longer hours in paid jobs than women.
Compared to an average week of 44.8 hours for a man, women are working 33.9 hours.
The impact of the government's campaign on work-life balance has had little effect, the report says.
The element of the report's findings contradicts a recent report for the Office of National Statistics which said that six million workers were now benefiting from flexible work.
The government has introduced a range of family-friendly and flexible working measures.
It signed up to the European Social Chapter shortly after coming into power - and many European-inspired policies have subsequently been introduced.
In recent years: new fathers have gained paternity rights; women can take up to a year's maternity leave - and parents now have the right to request flexible working patterns.
In addition, people working part-time have gained the right to equal treatment as full-time employees.
But according to the report there is an increasing proportion of people working long hours - more than 48 hours a week - up from 10% in 1998 to 25% today.
These long hours can have a negative effect on quality of life, with more than a quarter of those people who are working long hours admitting health problems as a result.
A quarter said had led to stress or depression and it had affected their sex lives and their relationship with their children.
More than four in ten workers say long hours "gets in the way of" their relationship with their partner or spouse.
"The only crumb of comfort", the report says is that one in four employees have cut back their hours in the past five years, although this is largely down to parenthood.
My wife was doing 60+ hours a week as a security guard at age 21. Just 4 months of that and our marriage of under a year is on the rocks. Need I say more?
Kyle Williams, UK
Feminism has not gone far enough, or work hours for all would be cut back to become more family friendly and more conducive to a balanced life. Don't blame feminism or government measures for ever-hungry bosses wanting an extra pound of flesh from the workers - you can stick that one down to capitalism.
Dale, New Zealand
Your headline is totally misleading. Women do not and have never "worked longer hours" than men. Typical feminist propaganda.
Graham Rider, Hong Kong
Working flexibly works out fairly well for families, but the hours aren't less and therefore the flexible working patterns can often lead to working 10 and 12 hour days to make up the time for the shorter working days. It seems that a lot of new legislation introduced is aimed at parents with children under six years of age, but the difficulties really start once the children are in school and school hours and holidays need to be catered for. Not all children are happy to go into holiday play schemes, my children are particularly shy and really take time to settle in anywhere. I don't want to cause them undue stress just because I go to work. If I could take an unpaid holiday for every school holiday, I would feel like a much better parent.
It is not always out of choice that women work these long hours. Women cannot afford NOT to work anymore, what with growing house prices and huge mortgage payments, it is only the luxuriously well off who can afford for one parent, usually the woman, to stay at home. It has little to do with feminism.
Rachel Smith, UK
I wonder if many women are feeling cheated by feminism. A century ago, most women only had to run the house and care for the children. These days, they are doing a job as well. There are a series of reasons for this. Some of them e.g. rising house prices and living costs, meaning that two wages are needed are beyond their control. With others, such as having a one night stand with a bloke and then getting pregnant or casually walking out on their husbands at the first sign of difficulty in their marriage, they only have themselves to blame.
However, the underlying problem for many women is that society just doesn't regard motherhood as being a worthy profession.
Graeme Phillips, Germany, normally UK
On average, I work a 55 hour week, which is slowly destroying my relationship with my partner. My social life is non existent and I am suffering from permanent tiredness as a result.
The last line of the second paragraph says it all! After a full days work most of us still go home and do a couple of hours work at least!
The wife of the local curate, who recently left my local church recently had a baby and since then, the first question people have been asking her is when she is intending to return to work. Her response is that she doesn't have any plans to do so at the moment, as she is quite enjoying motherhood and her husband's salary is more than enough to provide for the family.
Perhaps society, rather than pressuring women to work immediately after having a baby, should develop the idea that when experiencing motherhood, there is little point in working yourself into the ground, if the family is well off enough to live a comfortable lifestyle. One thing that many women find when returning to work after having had children is that after having paid expenses such as those involved with running a second car, childminding, taxes, they actually get to keep a very small proportion of their wages, thereby reducing the merit of working.
Graeme Phillips, Germany, normally UK
It is not feminism that has gone too far, and if anything, feminism hasn't gone far enough. The fact of women's workload is rooted in discriminatory economics which renders woman's domestic role as invisible, and requires her to work outside the home as well, or else depend on a male for survival. Obviously this is not always best. Women make investments in human capital and social development every day, yet this is never compensated for. In the end, something has to give, and when a woman must choose between having a baby and being able to provide, its a sad choice she faces. Feminism has been arguing for the choice in the matter, not having to lose out in either decision.
Women are still working less in terms of paid employment than men. But when it comes to work other than paid employment still far too much falls on Women. Men and Women should have an equal right to leisure, and equal right to the chance of a satisfying job. But women still seem to loose out on one or the other because they seem to end up doing more than their share of the unpaid work. Whether that be housework, childcare, care of a sick or elderly relative.
Us women have to be assertive in these things, and only do our share. That doesn't mean that every task should be shared evenly, just the total workload should be more evenly divided. But it's easier said than done, I know a lot of men just take the attitude `If you want the house clean then you should clean it'. One of the reasons I've chosen to remain single.
Graham Rider is quick to cite "feminist Propaganda" But does he know where the spare vacuum cleaner bags are in his house?
My work is client-based and project-oriented, in IT consulting. I'm averaging 35% overtime over this year, which is a massive improvement over last year, when we were called upon to do 100 hour weeks for months. Objections were overridden, and management paid lip service to working time legislation - claiming your rights is still a faux pas here.
When you are working this long, flexible working simply does not exist. What is worse, the overtime is now unpaid. And I'm not an executive - rather, I'm in my second year of work.
Something's got to give eventually...
I work full-time and my day pans out as follows: 6.15 get up, get breakfast, put out washing, do various other household chores, clear kitchen and get children into the car for 7.30 to leave for school. 8.00 arrive at school and cycle off to full-time job as an administrator. Shop for the family during lunch hour. Leave work at 5.00, go to school, collect children and drive home by 6.15. We now have my 85 year old father-in-law living with us, so I make supper for at least five people each night, then sort out washing, do any cleaning that needs to be done, sewing, help the children with homework, organise their bath and bedtimes and I might find time to sit down to read the paper for 10 minutes. Then I try to be in bed by 10.00pm. This is not a 6.78 hour day as suggested by the survey it is a 16 hour working day, 5 days a week, and if I am lucky a 10 hour working day at the weekends when other household and garden chores get done. My husband is a solicitor and works! very long hours too (usually 12 hours a day) but doesn't have the housework and running of the household to contend with to the same extent as I do and usually manages to get some relaxation when he comes home. Why is it that when people talk about 'working' they only ever consider work as tasks beyond the household? Running a household is equally 'working' - if someone is employed as a cleaner then they are working - so I feel that the very basic assumptions of such work surveys are completely at fault.
I consider myself extremely lucky that having left a good professional job when I had my son three years ago, I managed to find another position that offers flexible part time hours with good pay and working conditions. I have always felt that I have managed to achieve the best of both worlds in terms of maintaining my career and caring for my son. However, it is notable that I still bear the primary responsibility for caring for my son, e.g. it is me who has to leave work if he is ill at pre-school to collect him and I still do almost all of the housework. This is in spite of the fact that my part time job entails approx. 30 hours a week and my husband's full time job entails 36 hours per week. Whilst it would be easy to blame my husband for not carrying his share, the fact is that this comes down to the fact that parenting children and looking after a home are not considered "work" and become instead part of our so called leisure activities. Maybe I haven't got the best of both world, but the worst!
Find that the whole shift towards working women is playing havoc with real family life, just look at how many professional couples are now having children in there mid to late thirties as opposed to early twenties a generation ago.... Is this work culture a good thing?
Milo O'Neill, U.K
If you really want to know if feminism has gone too far, then I suggest you read "Hard Work" by Polly Toynbee - I've just finished it and the only conclusion I can come to is that feminism has not gone far enough.
NUS Wales Women's Officer
I work reasonably long hours (40-45 per week), but the company that I work for has a very good Flexitime system that I feel should be adopted nation wide. We note on a time sheet the time we arrive, have lunch and leave, and if we have done over our allotted hours for the week, then we are allowed to take that time off in lieu. Since starting work 2 months ago, I have already had one day off as a result, and will probably get another within the next two weeks.
As a number of people have mentioned, the need for women to work longer hours has nothing to do with feminism - if both myself and my partner don't work as much as we can, then there is no way that we can afford to pay our bills.
Perhaps if more people asserted themselves employers would appreciate that if they pay for a contracted 37.5 hour week that will be exactly what they get.
I think a lot of it is to do with people being defined by their jobs rather than defined by other things, such as kindness, helpfulness, gentleness, patience, friendliness etc. It's easier to achieve satisfaction knowing you are working hard and being paid for it, than it is to rely on feeling good about yourself through unpaid activities. Society and therefore we as individuals often value the paid work so much more than anything else. This has to change because it is very unhealthy. Try and value people for their admirable qualities rather than their activities.
If anything I'd have to say that employers are less sympathetic to flexible working than they were a few years ago.
There's not likely to be any major strides in getting equal pay for women until their hours reach the ridiculous hours that men work.
Steve Gill, UK
I work long hours all week, and often weekends, cannot afford to get a job which would have less stress, or less hours but still do not have enough money to employ a cleaner or someone to do the ironing so when I do get home I have all the housework to do
Women should remember that feminism is not a code to live by, nor a path to happiness. All those single 30 something women should have asked themselves 'what can I contribute to the relationship?' rather than compiling a list of demands.
Tim H, UK
I cannot help feeling extreme jealousy when I read of the 45 hour work week in the UK. My Japanese husband works 12 - 14 hour days, usually six days a week. In September he slept at home only five nights in the month, and had only four days off.
My two children barely know their father, which is a tragedy. He loves us very much, and I know that if he could be at home with us, he would be.
This is a very common situation in Japan. I wish that they could look at British and American work practices and emulate some of them. There is no need to work such long hours, a lot of what they do is slow and inefficient.
Vicky Kobayashi, Japan
I work part time (2.5 hrs a week less than those full timers!). I am a single mother of 4 whose work definitely does not end when I walk out of the office. I have to work but its my choice to be 'part time' so as to spend some time with my children as well as fit in essential jobs like homework and household chores, oh yes and fun! As it was my choice to have 4 children, I cant complain about my workload, my company is good enough to let me work the hours to suit me, its hard work but worth it!!
Why should flexible working apply just to those with families? I am in my mid-thirties, divorced, no children and have worked ever since I was 16 through necessity rather than choice. I feel utterly worn out with working full time, but I'm given few choices about the hours I work because I don't have a family. What rights do I have when I'm left with a huge mortgage to pay, including a huge debt to pay off a divorce that wasn't my choice, and a household to run on my own?
Ladies, welcome to equality - you wanted it, you've got it.
Maybe women need to start thinking about what they would like out of life. I would love to give up work to have a family, but it would be impossible for my husband's salary to cover the bills, even before the additional cost of baby cloths and nappies. To be honest I really don't like the idea of putting a 4 month old baby in the hands of a stranger while I go of to work.
I work from 7.30 to 2 (with no lunch break), my husband gets my daughter to school and I pick her up from school. All my housework, washing, ironing, cleaning, helping with homework, taxi service for daughter's activities, cooking, etc. is done after that time, my husband can't cook and doesn't help with any housework in the week, he works long hours and does not have time to help me in the evenings, I usually sit down about 8 and start packed lunches about 9, by 10 I am in bed totally worn out. I am totally shattered by the weekend and would love to be able to give up work but how would we pay the mortgage and bills?
I'm a man who works a 60 hour week and as I live alone I do all the unpaid house work too. I don't expect a reward. It's just life. Why do women make such a fuss about it?
W. Davies, UK
It's not flexible hours we need, but a radical re-think of our *lives* as our own, not just our weekends! Re-distribute the work, and some of the wealth and give everyone enough free time to enjoy their lives!
I think that some people are missing the point. From what I have seen, women still do the majority of the work in the house as well as working full time. How about taking into account these 'hidden' hours that many women work in addition to the measurable hours? Believe me, they do not do it for fun or recreation! For men to just ignore that side of things, is grossly unfair. In addition, women are doing more and more of the DIY. Need I say more ladies??
People complain that they have to have two earners to afford a mortgage but have they considered that house prices are only as high as they are because of the large number of two income families? If society would value homemakers more so that there was no stigma in not working when bringing up children, more people would be prepared to take a drop in their standard of living.
How does women working longer hours equate to feminism going too far? Feminism is about women having choice and power, and it's also about both genders sharing roles and responsibilities. If employers, and men, were more sympathetic to the idea that, shock horror, husbands/partners/fathers are part of the family too then everyone would get a fairer ride. I don't know about other people, but my brand of feminism has always been about making things fairer for EVERYBODY, and in that sense no it has not gone far enough.
This assumption that housework is 'women's work' is the greatest inequality of all and is the one thing that really has to be changed before we can truly say that women and men have equal opportunities both at work and at home - and as women's paid hours increase and men's decrease we really must have a corresponding increase in the amount of housework men do too.
If the comments on this page are a snapshot of how most families operate, then feminism definitely hasn't gone far enough. It just doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone that a Man could do half the housework. It seems only fair to me that if you're both working, then you share the jobs at home.
Far from a feminist agenda, I've just started working with a female line manager who encourages and admires those who work late, come in early and take work home. No male manager in my organisation would dare to openly display such discrimination between those of us with a life and those who are slowly eroding it!
anon female, UK
My wife is a teacher who works more than 50 hours a week on average. There are some evenings when as soon as she gets home from work she works another 5 hours preparing and marking. By contrast I only do around 35 hours a week. Largely because that's what my contract states. I do a lot of the housework and even help my wife do the marking!
Women have always worked longer and harder than men, in every country. We have a full time job as well as bring up a family and clean and cook for our families. In some cases while we are doing this we are studying and doing second jobs. Men in most cases work the same full day job, come home and sit on their behinds and watch telly while their wives sort out homework and cook their dinner. These days they expect their wives to go out to work and still do what their mothers did. wake up.
Kathy Williams, U.K.
I work while my wife stays at home looking after our year old. However I still cook more often than not and wash afterwards, share the washing/ironing, always do the vacuuming, help look after my daughter and do 100% of the house maintenance (decorating, cutting the lawn, electrical). I think I'm probably doing my share of unpaid work.
Phil Eadie, UK
We're hardly tired out by sitting on our backsides in an office all day playing with spreadsheets are we?
France - normally UK
I find it very frustrating that I spend more hours per week in the office than my husband, yet earn only 1/2 what he makes. And this is after 10 years of experience, versus his 3 years. He does help out here and there with housework, but I still do the majority. Thank goodness we don't have any kids yet, or I'd never find the time to sleep.
It's just as well women are working in their jobs less hours than men - there wouldn't be enough time to do all the work at home too. My husband thinks he does as much as I do at home - he gets paid more than me, but has to travel an hour longer than I do. I'm not quite sure he knows how long it takes to do the shopping each week and how much work that I do before he gets home each night. But all in all I feel we are equal, after all, I wouldn't want to have to travel over two hours a day for the extra money.
All this shows is that sexism in the workplace is successfully being addressed.
Phillip Holley, UK, London
Women have always worked longer hours if you take into account the fact that they carry out the bulk of the housework / childcare and upkeep of the family home. We are now being forced to work longer paid for hours because of the state of the housing market and being forced to take on extra jobs or longer hours to cover mortgage payments.
Who cares about the hours? We still don't even have equality in pay between men and women in the UK. First things first.
If we're ever going to achieve real equality in the workplace we also need equal maternity/paternity leave. Sexual equality is a lot more complex than just giving women time off work.
Graham Rider should read before he rants: the headline reads 'women work longer hours' not 'women work longer hours than men'. This sadly resorts to branding an article about women as 'feminist propaganda' also proves his inability to understand what he reads; the article is clearly about equality, not one gender being more favoured over the other. (see the quote from Mike Emmott).
In addition, his idea that 'women have never worked longer hours than men' clearly means he has no comprehension of the divide which still exists when it comes to running a home and working full time. Bring on the Metrosexuals!
Nicki Gilbert, UK
I wish people would remember that family life is the most important thing and that should be the whole reason people work, to supplement that life. Many people seem to be losing the focus as to why we are on this earth.
So many children don't even get to see their parents during the week really and that is terrible. I knew people who used to stay in the office until 8pm just to look good. Needless to say their children didn't get to see them. Isn't this just unnecessary?
Sonia Windsor, England
Before people get into bloke bashing, a lot of guys do help out at home. Me and my wife usually share everything equally as we both work full-time and demanding hours. The problem most people face is that any relationship is a team effort and you both have to work at. Perhaps the reason for some relationships breaking up as a result of long working hours is that one partner takes the other for granted.
As for Graeme Phillips, I don't feel cheated by feminism, I feel cheated by men who talk the way he does. And to say that a century ago women 'only' had to look after the children and the house - looking after children is one of the most important roles in society and should be recognised as such. And looking after a house - how many men get paid to manage departments or businesses and how many women are recognised for running a household? Maybe they are threatened by that fact that not only can we do just as well as them in the workplace - frequently we do it better.
Most 'new men' take over a share of domestic chores after a full day's work. I don't see many 'new women' mowing the lawn or mending the car at the weekend.
David Scott, England
Why do we ONLY talk of women's unpaid work? Both parties in a relationship do 'unpaid work' to run the home.
Brian (plumber, electrician, motor-mechanic, gardener, decorator etc. etc.)
Women do work longer hours and always have done, the world over. Capitalism survives on the huge pool of women's unpaid or low-paid labour.
In response to Wend: Mine are under the sink in the kitchen. Do you know how to repair a leaking tap or change the oil on a car?
Jon Ashton, UK
For all the initiatives and directives I know that when I come to start a family my company will do everything they can to only comply with the legal bare minimum and if I want to have more I will be sidelined in favour of someone who will give it their all.
This is typical female propaganda. Obviously isn't hard work as men on average die first.
Freddie Freedom, England
It is ridiculous to say that feminism is the cause of women working longer hours. My husband left me with a six month old baby and I had to push to gain a promotion to keep my home. My son is now seven and I have worked stupid hours over these years. Every school half term is a nightmare as child care is so expensive. Women are shouldering more and more of the responsibility for traditional male roles as well as their own. I would have loved to be able to stay at home with my son, and be there in his school holidays but the reality is that more and more women have no choice at all. For many women this is heartbreaking and a real tragedy for a generation of children.
I wouldn't class "housework" as proper work, most women seem to enjoy hovering and ironing.
Shane Lynch, UK
Vacuum cleaners have bags?
Feminism today is not about burning bras, nor is it the antithesis of chauvinism - it is about the equality of the sexes in our society. So if women are working longer hours because that is their choice, then great. But if they still have to do all the housework when they get home, then there is still a big problem. Men need to understand that today's society should reflect equal choice for both men and women: a mutually agreed balance of life's responsibilities.
I have watched relationships fail, stress increase and the standard of life decrease time and time again due to excessive hours.
I am now going to get a couple of part time jobs and work to live. Life isn't about impressing the boss and earning someone else money! This isn't a dress rehearsal! This is it!
Women, If you don't like the fact you seem to be doing all the house work, change your relationship. Whinging that you do all the work and expecting some form of sympathy just doesn't wash. Address it with the person that is causing the problem and not the whole world.
Please just stop your constant moaning, you don't know the meaning of the word stress. You don't have the whole of society suggesting the man should be the breadwinner - you have a choice, men don't.
The problem is these days feminists want their cake and eat it, They want all of the benefits of being a woman, i.e. less working hours, never paying for a meal on a date, expect doors to be held open, expect the man to pay for the house + bills etc, but in my experience they give very little back, no woman has ever Ironed me a shirt, and hardly ever cooked me a meal, essentially the man is no longer head of the house hold, therefore there is no overall control, no wonder the family unit is disintegrating.
Mark Luckham, England
I wish political parties actually had targets for a better life for all. Like a 4 day week - it would make us happier and healthier. If we could learn to spend less, then we wouldn't have to work so much and have more time for productive activities, whether its arts or families. Most work is a waste of time and a waste of our lives.
Tom F, UK
The time for feminism is over, my wife is pregnant and wants to give up her career, or at least take a break. It's a decision we have taken together that has horrified some of my wife's friends. The point they miss is that as a COUPLE we have decided to forgo the extra income. Lets face it life is worth more than competition.
There seems to be an awful lot of people complaining about the amount of work needed to bring children up. Anybody with a little intelligence knows what is involved in having children, if you don't like it why did you have them ? I have two children and I don't see looking after them as work, I enjoy the time with them, good and the bad.
Many of the female speakers seem to be complaining about having an unfair share of household work along with their paid work. Why not ask your partner to do more rather than moaning on a public board about him?
Nick, UK, UK
It was only a few years ago that there was genuine optimism about a future in which technology would reduce the working load and people would have more time for leisure. Instead, the situation is intolerable for many people (men and women) and the incidence of stress-related illness, self-harm and sheer desperation has increased markedly. Why should children strive to gain qualifications when all it seems to do is to condemn them to a life of servitude. Modernisation indeed, Mr Blair!
Get on with it, at least in this country we have the option to work and advance ourselves, something which is just a mere dream to women in other countries.
Feminism hasn't gone far enough but at least it is working better in our house than some of the examples above. Our home is paid for and looked after, equally, by my husband and myself. We do our household chores based on who has the most time or is the best person on the day. If I have been away on a trip [what happened to video conferencing taking over the world and saving 6 hours driving for a 3 hour meeting?] he cooks and does the chores. If he is on-call overnight at the hospital, I do the chores. If we want the night off to have some social time together we let our home get a little untidy. You only have one life to share together. We have shown our kids how to use the machines in the kitchen and the iron, too - they need preparing for leaving and for time management etc so its being cruel to be kind - they are all over 15. This saves any argument about pocket money or "where's my shirt?". There is a sense of achievement and we still have times when we can all do something together.
Wendy B, UK
It's unfair for both women AND men, because it's not equal on either sides - just read what people are writing here. We've got prejudices and stereotypes from both sides! Yes, I would like to see a world where housework's not automatically assumed to be "women's work", but then I'd also like to see more encouragement for father's to use flexible working arrangements, as well as more paternity leave. Is two weeks really enough time for a father to help with, and appreciate the birth of his child? Compared with to up to a year off, that some women get? I don't exactly call that equality, do you?
Kate H, UK
Before my partner's job as a Primary School Teacher destroyed her health I was balancing the workload by doing all the housework. I was working every bit as hard as her and for as many hours each day, but getting paid only 60% of what she did as I have a pathetic salary and housework isn't paid. Our relationship was at breaking point and we had no life. Now she has given it up we have a life and very little money. You can't have it both ways.
Anyone who wants to know why enough children aren't being born to replace an aging population only has to read all this!
Pat , UK
Feminists: 1960s families had 1 working parent - income £100. 2000s families have 2 working parents - income £200...and everything costs twice as much. Simple economics. Well done.
I am still looking forward to the non-existent day when I can stay at home and do the gym, coffee-rounds and shopping expeditions, whilst my missus goes out and does a 60 hour week earning the money that I could then spend.
Martin, Northern England
Maybe women are working longer hours to cover for men who are on paternity leave.
A. Lacey, England
My partner is a deputy head at a small primary school with an MA. She is at work by 7.45 am. rarely gets a break to eat lunch, finishes not before 5pm. does 3.5 hours work at home if she does not have a parents meeting, PTA meeting or some other educational meeting to attend. There is always some work that has to be completed over the weekend. All that for marginally more than her 21 year old son earned at a city bank during his university break. Where have priorities gone when it is such as she that sets up children on their life course?
Donald Stevens, UK
The responses I have just read are really depressing, and I believe are a result of the UK slavishly following American rather than European work ethics.
We need to begin "working to live", rather than slavishly "living to work" - there's got to be more to life than that!
Andrew Taylor, UK
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