After years of heated debate about equality in the workplace, Covid-19 could be the change women needed.
Lockdown may soon be a distant anecdote, but it opened Pandora’s box to the elusive third option to work, which may never close again.
Before we were politely told to stay at home for fear of death, the mark of our progressive country was that 46pc of our workforce was made up of women. There was constant discussion around reducing childcare costs, introducing subsidies, offering flexible hours and making the transition to work smooth after maternity leave.
Nothing should stop us from working in politics, on oil rigs, sitting on boards or running Fortune 500 companies after we have children. Men can do it, so why can’t we?
Getting to work as quickly as possible after having a baby was a mark of honour. Jacinda Ardern, the extremely capable and brilliant New Zealand prime minister, was back at work after “the fastest six weeks” of her life.
Despite enjoying a “wonderful” time with her daughter Neve, she was “absolutely” ready to go back to work. “I am not the first woman to multi-task. I am not the first woman to work and have a baby – there are many women who have done this before,” she said at the time.
Whenever she or other successful women are asked by journalists, “How do you do it?”, the answer is, “You wouldn’t ask a man that.”
This is true. Men have been working all hours in offices, going to war, going on lengthy expeditions to Antarctica or orbiting the planet and no one asks them about missing their kids’ nativity play.
But I am not a man. It’s not a competition. I don’t care if society deems it OK for them to miss their children growing up. I don’t want to miss my child growing up.