Too often, the reverse happens, where women are expected to give up their jobs to support their husbands.
Universally, one of the main reasons why women cannot pursue their careers or advance in them is because the double burden of domestic work is placed on their shoulders. Often, due to gender stereotypes that perpetuate the idea that women are supposed to be "caregivers," their professional careers are placed on the backburner. One major business executive is looking to change that. Rubin Ritter, the co-CEO at Zalando, one of Europe's largest e-commerce fashion companies, will be quitting his job so his wife's career can take centerstage, CNN reports. This, by no means, should be glorified for more than what it is (women do this all the time with little to no recognition), but it is important to acknowledge the precedent it sets for men in similar positions.
Ritter has spent more than 11 years in his position at Zalando, but he now wants to dedicate his time and efforts elsewhere. "I want to devote more time to my growing family," he said in a statement. "My wife and I have agreed that for the coming years, her professional ambitions should take priority." The now-former co-CEO did not mention any additional information about his wife or her career. However, regardless of these details, Ritter has done what many men simply do not have the humility to do.
This is great to see, but begs the question, why it’s so newsworthy when so many families do similar things?— ClaraWilcoxBC (@clarawilcoxbc) December 7, 2020
The necessary conversation about gender roles and expectations needs to carry on in 2020 and beyond! https://t.co/yUm3k2jdfd
He has led Zalando alongside two other co-CEOs, Robert Gentz and David Schneider, for over a decade now. The firm, based in Berlin, Germany, sells clothes and shoes from high street brands such as Adidas and Ralph Lauren online. Recently, Germany announced that all listed companies with management boards of more than three executives must appoint at least one woman to the C-suite. This is because the European country currently lags behind several other similar economies with regard to gender equity. It is hoped that such an initiative will boost women's representation in high-level management positions. For example, as per the non-profit organization Swedish-German Allbright Foundation, women make up only 12.8% of the management boards of Germany's 30 largest listed companies.
Slowly but Surely: More Women on Executive Positions in Germany's Big Companies – Women have long been underrepresented in executive committees in Germany. But progress is underway: the past year has seen more women on executive boards than any other prev https://t.co/Nvjt4gsZHQ pic.twitter.com/aDw87PekpQ— twib.news (@twibnews) February 3, 2020
Therefore, while this policy comes into effect, men must rise to the occasion and ensure that they are pulling their weight in the household so that women can progress in their careers as well. A 2013 survey conducted by the United Nations found that on average, women in Germany spend 3.82 hours on unpaid domestic work and child or elderly care, whereas men spend only 2.4 hours on the same tasks. The pandemic has only worsened these outcomes. This is, without a doubt, inequitable, and men must do more within their households to equalize these numbers. Like Ritter, it may be time for other men to consider how they can help the women in their lives succeed in their careers.
We must promote women’s equal participation in economic life. Gender equality in work, livelihood, social protection and distribution of unpaid domestic care work is key for economic recovery. Learn about our #HumanRightsDay campaign, #Recoverbetter: https://t.co/v3q8KEYA6Y pic.twitter.com/UOEhJTiDM5— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) December 7, 2020