In recent years, “gig economy” has become a buzzword used to describe temporary or freelance work, usually obtained through online platforms. While the advantages of such a work are well-known, including flexibility and autonomy, its benefits to women have been especially significant, in terms of financial stability and balancing work with caregiving responsibilities.
Gigging or freelancing has become an increasingly popular option for women who want to balance work with other responsibilities, such as caring for children or elderly parents. Compared to traditional jobs, gig economy jobs do not require a physical presence in an office or on a fixed schedule, giving women more control over their time. According to a survey conducted by the Freelancers Union, 68% of female freelancers said they chose to freelance specifically for flexibility-related reasons.
Moreover, the gig economy has also offered women the opportunity to make a steady income, often with higher pay than traditional jobs. A study by the National Women’s Law Center has shown that women in the gig economy earn 15% more per hour than those in traditional jobs. This is partly due to the ability to set one’s own rates and work with multiple clients, which gives freelancers the ability to be more competitive in the job market.
The gig economy has also allowed women to explore new fields, take on new challenges and develop new skills. For example, women who have not had access to jobs in tech, marketing, or other highly skilled professions due to systemic discrimination, can now develop the skills necessary to work in these fields through online courses, self-study or apprenticeships.
Additionally, gigging has given women the ability to become their own bosses, which can offer a sense of empowerment and control over their professional lives. Freelancing platforms, such as Fiverr, Upwork, or TaskRabbit, allow women to run their own business from their homes, offering services of their choosing, setting up their prices and schedules, and finding clients who match their interests and talents.
However, the gig economy is not without its challenges. Freelancers do not have the protections and benefits of traditional employees, such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid vacations. This means that women freelancers must plan ahead for these contingencies, either by budgeting for those expenses or finding alternative sources of income.
Moreover, the gig economy comes with a high degree of insecurity. Freelancers have no job security and must constantly be on the lookout for new clients and opportunities. This can be stressful and financially taxing. It’s important for women in the gig economy to create a structure for themselves, such as setting up a consistent work schedule, building a savings account, and seeking out professional development opportunities.
In conclusion, the gig economy offers women a great deal of independence, flexibility, and financial stability, having a positive impact on women’s professional and personal lives. However, as with anything, there are challenges and uncertainties associated with freelancing. Women can mitigate these challenges by developing the skills necessary for being their bosses and building stable and fulfilling careers in an online world.