Female dilemmas: Carrer or Family?

Juggling family and career can be very difficult for women. But is it really necessary to choose between success and family? The joint forum of Telenor and the SEED Foundation for Small Enterprise Economic Development focused on the question of how mobile communication can help maintain a healthy balance between the two.

Diverse female roles: career or family?

Women need to prove themselves in various areas of life including housekeeping, raising children and organising family life. In addition to holding the family together, many of them also have a career. Performing a job or launching and managing a business in addition to daily tasks can be a quite a challenge.

According to a recent survey conducted by SEED Foundation for Small Enterprise Economic Development [1] one of the biggest problems for women is efficient time management. Over 75% of women managing small businesses think that more work means less time for themselves and their families, making good time management a priority. Thanks to innovations in mobile technology, there are numerous solutions to help more efficient planning and organising.

Women are only just beginning to discover smartphones

Compared to men, women feel less at home in the digital world and are slower at getting to know the latest technological innovations.

The joint survey of Telenor and Free Association Kft. conducted in the first quarter of 2011 showed that while over one-third (40%) of men use a smartphone, less than one-fourth (24%) of women own one. And even though the majority (57%) of women think it is a good thing to be able to access their email accounts from their phones, they still prefer to check their email and use the Internet from their desktop PCs. Portable laptops, notebooks and netbooks are also more popular with men. For the time being, women are not exploiting the potential in smartphones such as an uninterrupted Internet connection, since only every tenth respondent said that they go online when on the go.

Yet one thing all female handbags have in common is place for a mobile phone. A good phone is like a true companion. It is always there when you need it and knows your routine. It wakes you up at the right moment or reminds of you important dates. A smartphone, however, can do even more than that. It is in fact a small, pocket-sized portable computer. For some time now, mobile phones have been capable of sending and receiving emails via an existing Internet connection and, thanks to applications that are for the most part free, can be used to balance family and professional life.

This way, you can check your email or take care of your most urgent business even during the morning rush or skim through the latest news reports while waiting. But they might also come in handy for family outings if there is a sudden change in the weather and you need a new destination, or if you would like to find somewhere more exciting to go for the evening.

“I first started realising the potential in smartphones when we were at the playground with a friend and it started raining. It took my friend only seconds to find new activities for the kids using her mobile. I find it great that you can take the Internet with you wherever you go. As I am becoming more familiar with the world of smartphones, as a mother and a busy TV presenter I am beginning to see what a great help a phone like this can prove,” said RTL Klub presenter and forum hostess Ildikó Kovalcsik, alias Lilu.

You can also use applications to customise your phone. DocumentsToGo for example can be used to open Word, Excel, Power Point or PDF files on your phone, while Evernote allows you to jot down important ideas quickly and Google Maps helps you find your bearings.

Female entrepreneurial forum for finding the right solutions

The joint forum of Telenor and SEED Foundation for Small Enterprise Economic Development was also designed to promote the advancement of women and familiarity with technological innovations. Successful female entrepreneurs and recognised specialists shared their experience with the participants. At the event, TV presenter Ildikó Kovalcsik (alias Lilu), successful female entrepreneurial ambassador Zsuzsa Bácskai, adult education manager Anna Horváth, business coach Krisztina Madai and writer of Gazdagmami.hu Ágnes Vida discussed how they became successful business women, while still managing to live their private lives to the full. The participants also had a chance to learn about the latest smartphones, which can make organising their daily lives easier.

“Telenor is committed to telling women about the potential in mobile communications in order to help them live a fuller life. Of course you cannot run a business without courage, perseverance and a good idea. As a responsible mobile operator, we feel that we can also contribute to the success of women with our expertise and technology. Today’s event was intended as an opportunity for female entrepreneurs to share their opinions and experiences with each other in addition to learning about the latest technological trends,” said Orsolya Nyilas, Telenor’s acting PR director.

Participants of the forum all agreed that although starting up their own business can be more difficult for women, the exchange of experience, best practices and success stories can help alleviate initial difficulties.

“According to international studies, the successful entrepreneurial activity of women is linked to the strength of their social capital and self-confidence. Therefore, all opportunities for women to build and improve contacts and learn from one another, thereby enhancing their self-confidence, are welcome and have substantial social benefits,” said managing director of SEED Foundation Anna Horváth.

To promote the exchange of experience between women, Telenor has launched a joint competition with SEED Foundation entitled “Success and harmony – successful life paths for female entrepreneurs”. Applications should be submitted to the company and the Foundation by 31 July 2011, together with a case study at least five pages long containing the female business leader’s account of how she managed to overcome initial obstacles and create a healthy balance between business and private life.

(Details of the competition are available at http://seed.hu/telenor)

[1] Female entrepreneurs in Hungary 2008 – SEED Foundation for Small Enterprise Economic Development, May 2008