A nice commentary on why working mothers rock at work.
There is so much I could add here… having children still remains the game changer in today’s equity and equality movement. Even though children are greatly needed by every society to ensure the next generation of tax payers, employers sometimes think that female employees that have children are at the employer’s detriment. After children, all of a sudden, employment promotions and opportunities decrease for women when before this most modern women feel (rightly or wrongly) they have been competing on a level playing field.
Women also are somewhat reticent about speaking out on this as they worry it will make them seem less satisfied with parenting. Every article that I have read from the perspective of a mother returning to work or a mother who works outside the home always has a disclaimer of some sort that states, that mothering it is the best thing ever (naturally… see even I can’t help myself).
I think much more needs to be said about the cognitive dissonance the modern woman faces when her hard fought for career changes because of parenting. Just like men’s identities used to be formed primarily by work as it was a fundamental part of their lives, so now do women’s identities increasingly also revolve around work. Because today’s economy demands highly educated employees, women are now increasingly gaining both under-grad and post-grad qualifications to equip herself for her career. In fact research shows more females are gaining post-graduate degrees than males. After landing her graduate role, women are then fighting to prove their selves capable in their roles and worthy of promotion. It might be a long bow, but perhaps this is why we are seeing such high rates of post-natal depression in the developed world. Life for the modern women has all of a sudden has experienced a major tilt on it’s axis. That little nuisance thing of fulfilling our biological imperative.
Staying at home is hard, you have a little baby, that despite all your wonderful knowledge, won’t necessarily do as you tell them too. That is quite a turn around from being considered proficient and capable at work. On the other hand, going to work is really difficult too. Leaving your baby in-care to return to the workplace is heart-wrenching and distressing. It is all too easy to second guess that decision and yourself most days as you head out the door.
Employing Mums’ is a must! It is a wonderful resource, often under-utilised and devalued, that many companies can benefit from. Educated and experienced woman increasingly are left to scramble to find work below their capabilities and under their prior-to-baby pay scales so they can get the flexibility they need to partake in their mostly primary care-giver responsibilities. The businesses that are employing these women then can leverage off the knowledge and experience these women bring to their roles and the organisation through workplace culture and job satisfaction initiatives such as empowerment and intrinsic motivation. Let’s not go into the ethical discussions we could have about that at this point.
I think one way forward to keep pushing for true macro-participation for women who are parents at work is to keep it personal. Men have mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters who they want to be treated fairly and with respect. After all they would be upset if someone close to them was ‘done out of a job’ because she had children. By gently reminding men that every woman is someone’s mother, wife, sister, or daughter hopefully we can work through this workplace barrier. Men can be and remain our greatest allies if we remember to work to change the system with them.
The article below has five great points for women to share with their managers and employers to show them why they are needed at work and add great value.
When all is said and done though, it still remains an imperfect system where fairness does not reign… yet! The decisions that disadvantage women because of their parenting status or potential to be parents certainly highlights why Mothers are turning to self-employment to showcase their hard-won skills and experience while still managing their home responsibilities.
Mompreneurship is a phenomenon that even 10 years ago was emergent research. In the past short decade, women with children have been showing big business what they are missing out on when they choose to take non-work related factors into their decision making. If you would like to find out more about Mompreneurship then this site makes an excellent resource and starting point. http://themompreneur.com/