Elderly Dependents

Elderly Dependents

Elderly Dependents

The issue of elderly dependants is a growing one. In the Institute of Management's 2011 survey of managers' changing professional and personal values (A Question of Balance -see page 159), the point was made that flexible working policies developed by family-friendly employers have largely concentrated on childcare. Nearly half of the female respondents to the survey indicated that help with the care of elderly dependants was an important issue for them.

There are many different ways in which discouragement or obstructive behaviour, within a family structure or relationship, makes it very difficult for women to follow their chosen career paths. It is not easy, for instance, for those women embroiled in domestic violence to escape. One manager said that it had taken her a long time to get out of such a situation and she had chosen to tread water for a while as her work was the only fixed point in her life. The positive outcome of all this was that she learned to be strong inside.

A successful professional woman who is now a partner in her own business describes how obstructive her husband has been:

'He disliked the idea of me becoming financially independent and regarded my career as unimportant. He has consistently put as many obstacles in my way as he could and has no interest in the company, unless

I say that we are in the red in which case he tells me that the whole venture has been a waste of time and effort!'

In addition, the media coverage of women who 'have made it' has been the subject of some criticism, which suggests: that too much emphasis is given to domestic and family background rather than to their business achievements. The inevitable concentration by journalists on questions such as, 'How does she cope with a high-profile career and running a family?' often contrasts with profiles of businessmen, where details of whether or not they are married, or how many children he has, are omitted.

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