January 24 2012
Working Mother (WM), a traditional feminist magazine, recently posted it’s top 100 best companies to work for – identified as those businesses with the most family-friendly benefits like flextime, telecommuting and shared jobs. In the midst of this heated Republican primary campaign, I was amused to find that the big, bad barracuda Bain Capital was among WM’s top companies.
As I wrote in the run-up to the New Hampshire primary, making Romney out to be a Wall Street baron who preys on working Americans was not only a failed political strategy (GOP primary voters don’t take kindly to populism), but also a one-dimensional view of Bain Capital and free markets. As is too often the case, there is a tendency to see large corporations only in a negative light – certainly this is the case with Wal-Mart, which is frequently scorned despite its progressive workplace environment.
According to WM, the same can be said for Bain Capital, where “creative work arrangements are a hallmark of this management consulting firm.” Despite what feminists love to claim – that women need gender protection laws in order to ensure they have equal opportunities in the workplace – WM suggests that at Bain “women may reduce their schedules by 40% and still be considered for promotions.” In fact, they add, “most of the female partners here have worked part-time.”
To be fair, the act of buying up failing companies, as Bain does – with the understanding that many employees will be laid off – may make people uncomfortable. However, perhaps too much attention has been focused on Bain’s “destructive” qualities and not enough on how it’s created an environment that better allows women – and men – to balance work and family.