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Dear all I’ve been somewhat off the radar recently but please read below this guest blog by Sofia Rasmussen. If anyone has any comments or questions then do post a message and i’ll pass them on.

The gender gap is old news these days…unless you are a mother in the UK looking for a way to support your new child and yourself. In order to compete with men in the current UK job climate, women need to have even more experience and education, which means that many women complete graduate school while working to mitigate student debt and support their families.

A major shift in habit from the 1950s, the UK now has a strong percentage of women in higher education. In fact, the UK has more women than men entering college and receiving degrees, a habit that is being mimicked in other countries, as well. But these numbers start to falter when it comes to wages and employment. The gender gap in education may be decreasing, but the workplace still needs some work in this regard. The UK ranks behind countries, such as the Philippines when it comes to women in the workplace.

The recent seasons of unemployment are not helping the problem, and the burden for recent mothers is even heavier. After all, what is a mother with a newborn child supposed to do? Parents are entitled to benefits, of course, to the tune of around 20 pounds a week for a first child and a mish-mash of other benefits, such as free dental care, as well as statutory maternity pay, which can last as long as 39 consecutive weeks. But maternity can cause problems later, when mothers start looking for work after absence.

In the super-competitive UK job climate, positions often go to those with the highest education and the greatest level of experience. This encourages many mothers to take advantage of the female-friendly higher education system in Britain…until they have to deal with the costs. Spending so much time away from their child (or children) is often not a possibility. Even if a mother is willing to try, the costs in babysitting can sap funds, which often translates into high student debt. So mothers have to sit, using up their benefits and looking at a job market where they won’t have a chance compared to higher-educated competitors.

Enter online education. The benefits of graduate programs online offer a much-needed break for mothers anxious to improve their prospects before heading back into the job market. Location is no longer a problem when taking classes that are flexible, depending on individual schedules.

The quality of education remains a problem for many programs; however, prestigious options, particularly online offerings provided by traditional brick & mortar institutions are counteracting these issues. Not only do online degrees afforded by these programs automatically carry weight on resumes, but the quality of the lecturers is often topnotch. Additionally, innumerable educations firms are entering the market, providing IT consulting, software, and solutions to the longstanding higher education institutions.

Of course, online education is far from a perfect system, and the wage gap in Britain is not doing mothers any favors. But the chance for women to find much-needed jobs while taking care of their children is increasing, and that is a good thing.

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