Remote working practices adopted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic could end up having a detrimental effect on the career progress of women, Labour Party’s President Ramona Attard has warned.
“Many are promoting telework, which is all well and good, but let’s conduct a study into who is teleworking most and why,” Attard told a PL rally yesterday. “Does opting to telework impede one from advancing in their career? Is the lack of physical presence at an office denying people promotions?”
“If that is the case, we will be regressing with regards all the good work we’ve done over the past seven years to help more women find employment.”
While some businesses have gone fully or partially remote as part of a company policy to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, other workers have gone remote to accommodate their children’s school rosters.
State schools have given parents a choice between sending their children to school or giving them a series of pre-recorded lessons, while private schools have adopted various approaches, including rotating rosters between physical and online learning.
Attard urged parents to send their children to school, citing paediatrician Robert Cassar, who quoted a study stating that the rate of virus transmission amongst children and between children and adults is less than 1%.
“Let’s base our decisions on science, rather than on fear,” she said.
She also argued that while some women have decided to stop working altogether or to take a career break to adjust to this new way of life, she has yet to hear of a single man who has done likewise.
“Culturally, it is women who are mainly responsibly for raising children, but it is important for women to be economically independent,” she said. “Children should also see both their parents work to help foster a generation of equality.”
In her speech, Attard also called for studies into surrogacy, pre-genetic testing, the potential legalisation of cannabis for personal use, and a reduction of the four-year separation requirement before couples can get a divorce.