In this blog, Mali shares her worries about the cost of living increases and talks about how flexible work could make a huge difference to her and other young women.
The increase in the cost of living is making me feel stressed. I am temporarily unable to work due to my mental health, but in the next couple of years, I would really like to be in a position where I could move out and get a flat somewhere of my own. I know that realistically from looking at how things like energy bills – or even just the cost of food – are increasing, moving out and having that independence is going to be really expensive. It makes me feel anxious about my future and how hard it’s going to be for me to achieve the things I want in life.
With the government not really listening or doing anything to improve the situation, I frequently worry that nothing is ever going to change.
There are so few opportunities for me to work in a way that would suit my needs right now.
There just aren’t enough opportunities
A few years ago, after experiencing a lot of struggles with mental health, I had to take a break from work and college to focus on my wellbeing for a while. This has been a really difficult process for me and I’ve had to manage my expectations with regards to what I can realistically achieve at the moment. It’s difficult, because I would love to be able to work, but I know that there are so few opportunities available to work in a way that would suit my needs right now.
I don’t have a degree, or even a full set of A-levels after having to leave college, so the options available to me are already slim, let alone with the addition of needing mental health allowances and flexibility. I’m someone who is really hard working and I feel I have a lot of skills that would make me suitable for a variety of job roles, but there just aren’t enough opportunities available for me to work in a way that I need.
At the moment lot of workplaces refuse to make adjustments for employees or only allow options for flexible work after a person has worked there for a certain amount of time, and that makes it much harder for young women – and people in general – to find work that they are able to fit into their lives, and around their other responsibilities and needs.
The government aren’t really listening
There is a lot that could be done to make work better for young women. I think the government really should be doing more when it comes to requiring employers to consider and make allowances for flexible working.
The pandemic has shown us that it is possible for people to have more independence and to efficiently work from home. I think employers giving us the trust to get our jobs done in the way that actually works for us is crucial.
If I were able to find a job where I could have some of that flexibility, it would make a big difference to me and how I feel about my life. I would really love to be working and to have the chance to do something I’m good at.
Our latest research highlights the dread that young women feel at the cost of living increases and how a lack of flexible work opportunities is holding them back.