Flexible working. Feminism. Fun.

Why part-time workers have to be twice as good as full-timers

Why part-time workers have to be twice as good as full-timers

“Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.” – Charlotte Whitton

I love this quote from Canada’s most controversial feminist, and it prompted me to write my own edited version:

“Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. And women who work part-time must be twice as good as those other women.”

I’ve been feeling the part-time pressure a lot lately. I’ve written about how I essentially do a full-time job in part-time hours, and I recently agreed to take on additional responsibilities. Why?

Because I love a challenge. This project has me buzzing, my head spinning with ideas.

But also:

Because I need to try be better than everyone else.

As a part-time employee – and the only one in my team who works reduced hours – I have more to prove. I know that if I ever want to advance my career without working full time, I need to do more with less. It’s that simple.

Nothing stalls your career like going part time. Studies have found that working part time could hurt your long-term salary, since you don’t get the benefits of full-time employment, like increases in pay as you gain more experience.

When you work fewer hours, you may miss out on training and networking opportunities, which can hold you back. The bigger issue, however, is that employers often assume that part-timers don’t take their jobs as seriously, so they don’t consider them for promotions. For part-time women – because, surprise surprise, it’s mostly women – their careers may never recover.

I’m doing my best to fight the assumption that I’m 20% less valuable because I work 20% less than everyone else. That means saying yes when I should be saying no. That means picking up other people’s work to ensure that it gets completed. That means doing work I don’t get paid for. That means GETTING SHIT DONE by any means necessary.

It’s hard. Harder than I expected it would be. But I’m determined to prove that part-time employees deserve more opportunities than they usually get.

A workingmums.co.uk study showed that 41% of women who went part-time after having children said that their responsibilities hadn’t lessened when they reduced their hours. That means there are a lot of women out there who feel like they have to work twice as hard to be thought of as half as good.

We rush out of the office at 4pm but answer your emails at 10pm. We miss meetings but don’t miss deadlines. We pick up our kids and pick up your work.


A woman wearing pink with pink nails holding a notepad that says 'part time'. The top of the image says, "Why part-time workers have to be twice as good as full-timers"

A blogging good time

The Pramshed

7 thoughts on “Why part-time workers have to be twice as good as full-timers”

  • This is such an important issue and one I’ve been discussing with colleagues today at the launch of a Women’s Network in our organisation. Despite having a wonderful flexible working policy, the majority of part time workers and women. Why is that? Why are we taking up the mantle of primary carers when in some organisations men equally have the opportunity. I work four days a week in three, effectively reducing my hours by 25%. My workload hasn’t changed at all. We need to keep working together to #PressForProgress.
    Thanks again for another insightful post. #ABloggingGoodTime

  • I work part time too and you’re totally right. I am definitely looked on as a more inferior worker, more so by my colleagues than my bosses, who seem to resent my ‘time off’. Despite the fact that I have to fit full time work into part time hours. It’s tough and thankless but somebody has to do it #ablogginggoodtime

  • Such. A brilliant post! I work part time and I sometimes feel like people don’t take me as seriously! I work just as hard and if not harder than I would full time! ? #fortheloveofBLOG

  • I completely agree with you here. I went back to work full-time initially after having my daughter and then went down to 4 days a week……but still carried on working a full time job. I then quit…..all a bit too much. A lot needs to change in companies, they can’t expect full time work to be done in part time hours, plus your career shouldn’t end just because you go part-time. Fingers crossed we start to see a shift…..Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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