How Women are Making the Most of the Gig Economy

Women in the gig economy is redefining what it means to have a job in 21st century America. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 3 million Americans formed what are called ‘non-employer’ businesses between 2003 and 2013. While more current statistics are not yet available, it is a safe bet that the total number of participants in the gig economy has continued to grow.

In her groundbreaking book Lean In, Facebook’s Chief Operations Officer, Sheryl Steinberg noted that nearly half of all women are leaving corporate America to focus on their families. However, this does not mean that women are dropping out if their careers; as the gig economy is a perfect option for women who want to leverage their skill and experience while pursuing other opportunities.

Beyond the independence and the potential to earn more money, there are four other reasons why women are making the most of the gig economy. These include the ability to remain sharp, satisfaction, flex work, and lastly diversity. So, let’s take a deeper look at how the gig economy is helping women across the country.

1) Staying on Top of Your Skills

How Women are Making the Most of the Gig Economy
How Women are Making the Most of the Gig Economy
The decision to drop out of the corporate world to raise a family is a not one which should be taken lightly. Unfortunately, it is choice which millions of women are forced to make. As if dropping out of the rat race was not bad enough, the other challenge is what it can do to one’s skills.

This includes the knowledge built up over time and the opportunity to stay on top of industry trends. Freelancing is a great way for a mom to keep sharp while they are also focusing on their family. When it is time to rejoin the workforce in earnest she will not be 4 or 5 years behind, instead she will have current experience which will allow her to jump back in and compete as if she never lost a beat.

2) Work Satisfaction

If you are a working mom, then you know there is never enough time. But the flip side for millions of American women is that dropping out of the workforce often leaves them unsatisfied. There is good reason for this, they have developed skill and experience which when put to good use can make them feel like they are part of something.

This is something that all of us want and freelancing is a great way to achieve this, even if it is on a limited basis. Now if your kids are grown and you want to take it to the next level, then freelancing might be the perfect way to start your own business. In fact, many woman have started out like this.

Don’t let lack of finances be a hindrance either. Today there are 7 Reasons to be Self-Employeda number of loans geared towards women, which can help you go from freelancer to business owner in no time at all. This will allow you to focus on who you love (your family) and doing what you love (your business). Now that sounds like having your cake and eating it to me.

3) Work Flexibility

It is undeniable that one of the biggest draws of freelancing is the possibility to work when you want and where you want. But another plus is the fact that freelancing means taking on different types of assignments and the variety of work available allows women to take advantage of their unique perspective. Even if you are a graphic designer, it could be as simple as working on an ad campaign one day, to consulting with a brand on how they should remark their entire presence.

Another way women are using flex work to make the most of the gig economy is to join with other women (or men) to create teams to handle certain assignments. This sort of flexibility allows everyone to bring together the best possible people for a task.

4) Work Related Diversity

This brings me to my final observation – diversity. Working with different people in different situations not only promotes better teamwork and understanding, it also helps everyone involved to realize the importance of workplace diversity. This benefits women everywhere, and which is a good thing.

( Photo by Marco Raaphorst )

2 Responses to How Women are Making the Most of the Gig Economy

  1. Hi Kevin: I am of the age where women wanted to work-full time, got educations, had careers not just jobs, and send their children to daycare (i.e., 80’s 90’s). I was not in this situation, although I did work full-time, and I often witnessed terrible anxiety in many of my co-workers in leaving their young babies, often six-week old infants, toddlers, etc. in daycare to return to work. I am not here to judge anyone. However, I do know that it caused tremendous stress, to say nothing of the cost. Yes, women shouldn’t have to choose, yadda yadda, but, until babies and young children can grow on their own, that’s the way it is. Someone has to choose to care for them. The internet has opened so many doors to people, not just women (but that’s who we’re talking about here, so let’s stay with them). Women can now stay connected to work and still be home with their children. It many not be the high-powered job you wanted or had, but you don’t have to lose your skills or connections anymore, nor do you have to leave your children to the care of someone else. This is a God-send to so many women, who can still earn for their household, feel productive, and empowered. Nor are they at the mercy of a bad spouse. So much good has come from mobile jobs. It wasn’t available just two decades ago, but we have come a long way. I believe many women, once they experience gig work, never want to go back. And we have all seen that more money in a household doesn’t always equate to the better life we all were looking for. The stress becomes too much for the couple and the children with devastating results. Happy, well-adjusted and well-behaved children don’t happen by accident. It is a full-time job that women, and society, need to be proud of.

  2. Hi Bev – No doubt about it, the web really does have the potential to help parents and especially women on the child-rearing front. What’s disturbing is that more employers don’t allow parents to work at home to care for their children, especially the very young ones. I work from home completely on the web, and if I can help it I’ll never go back to working full-time outside the home (part-time or seasonal maybe).

    When my kids were young, in the 90s, early 2000s, the web wasn’t an income venue yet (though it became so late in that cycle). Instead, I worked as a mortgage loan originator (salesman) and worked mostly from home. Since I could do that, and still bring in an income, my wife and I decided that I’d stay home with the kids. I didn’t make as much money as I could have, but it was more important for one of us to be home with the kids. As a result, the kids enjoyed many of the benefits of a stay at home parent, especially in the summer months, and we still had two incomes. We were blessed to have this arrangement, even if it was less than perfect.

    I think more parents – mothers AND fathers – could have a similar arrangement. But they will still have to make sacrifices. For example, you might make less money, or you might lose your place on the career path. But so be it, spending that time with your kids is well worth the sacrifices. After all, money can be replaced, but training and experiences for your kids can’t. Once that time is gone, it’s gone forever. I hope more parents can embrace this on all fronts.

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