The debate on whether women can have it all – a career and a family – has been raging for decades now, but what is the real issue? Why can’t we have it all? Women are having to make some really tough choices today that either impact their career/business or their family; but it doesn’t have to be this way! It isn’t about what is fair, right or wrong. It is about giving everybody the equal opportunity to fulfil their potential.
I think most working mums whether it is as an employee or business owner know that the complete lack of flexible and affordable childcare is the main reason for the tough choices they are having to make. Childcare for self-employed parents is a particular issue. We recently carried out a survey and received some really great feedback from women up and down the country, but time and time again the same thing kept being said: ‘there is a complete lack of flexibility within childcare and the cost is overwhelming!’ One of the most striking comments to us was from a mum who was in the process of setting up her own business after a recent redundancy:
“The amount of childcare available in my area is great. My problem is that I struggle to afford to pay for it as I am a self-employed person who has set up a business in the last year and not taking a wage, there is no support for people like me, my hours are irregular and I often end up paying for childcare that I didn’t need as you have to have specific days when your child attends and if they don’t attend you still have to pay for it. I have been lucky enough to have got my daughter in a nursery who have allowed me to have half a day as her regular session, so the worst case for me is paying for half a day that I don’t need. I wish there was more support for people like me who was made redundant, could not get another job and so set up my own business but not able to take a wage yet. Maybe half price childcare or a loan to pay for childcare which you can pay back when you are taking a wage. My problems in paying for childcare has hindered the development of my business, I really don’t want to sponge but I really wish there was more help”
Co-working hubs with on site crèche facilities
It is receiving comments like this and hearing similar things on a daily basis through our Twitter and Facebook accounts that has reconfirmed to us the desperate need for flexible, affordable childcare. Being a social enterprise company we want to not only provide flexible childcare but also support start-up businesses and provide access to new opportunities to people across communities nationwide. That is why we are working tirelessly on creating new and innovative co-working hubs across the country that will have on site crèche facilities to support start-up businesses like the lady who replied to our survey.
Not only will the hubs have crèches, but we are working with our partners to offer services, such as those of virtual assistants, to provide vital support to start-up businesses. The hubs will also act as community centres for people to run classes, training and much much more!
We are getting a great response to our publicity about the hubs and we would love to talk to anyone who may want to get involved. The time for change is now!