Can motherhood really be a career booster?
Over 2 million women lost their jobs during the pandemic. Work Muse explores 3 steps to turn motherhood into a career booster during our Job Share Java Live.
As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as women see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we’ll all be better off for it. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The pandemic threw many of our careers and work lives into chaos as we navigated sudden work-from-home and looming layoffs. But none were as affected as working mothers, particularly working mothers of color. Mothers of color were more often employed in front-line jobs, making online school and the loss of childcare, an impossible situation. As a result over 2 million women became unemployed.
How do we bring back millions of women (and prevent more from joining them) forced out of their jobs during the pandemic? In this conversation, we dive into 3 actionable steps to harness this historic moment to turn Motherhood into a career booster.
*Note: Skip ahead past the countdown timer’s first 10 minutes.
Here’s a glance at this Job Share Java training:
- [12:30 ] Has the pandemic changed bias against mothers in the workplace? When women become mothers they face bias in the workplace. Many face career stagnation or even demotion, known as the Motherhood Penalty, while men are often promoted once they become fathers.
- [13:37] How would it feel not to have to cover up the mother part of yourself when you come to work? Instead, what if you applied the skills you’ve developed in Motherhood to leadership positions and considered assets? Consider being able to bring your whole self to work without having to pretend you are not caring for others
- [15:10] I read an excerpt from a resignation letter from a friend forced out of the workforce due to Covid-19, past the point of burnout. She demands her employer hear how life-changing a job share would have been at the point she needed it most.
- [18:12] HeyMama created the “Motherhood on the Resume” initiative encouraging working moms to lead with motherhood as a competitive advantage, starting on the resume. Similarly, Girls Who Can Code Founder Reshma Saujani with high profile women proposed the Marshall Plan for Moms to pay moms for their unpaid, unseen labor. Both sprung up from the devastation mothers faced over the past year. We discuss if the she-cession should be a womens’ or a parents’ (i.e. caregivers’) issue.
step 1: Embrace parenting as a competitive advantage at your workplace
- [22:05] Step 1: Embracing Parenting as a Competitive Advantage at Work. I share slides with stats pre-pandemic for women leaving work after becoming a parent and the effects of the Motherhood Penalty. In December 2019, women outnumbered men in the workplace for the first time. One short year later in December of 2020, women lost all the jobs in the U.S. workforce.
- [22:46] Discussion of why motherhood is a training ground for leadership with eye-opening statistics to highlight how the skills women develop as parents and caregivers that they are able to bring to work. I discuss how Millennials and Gen Z want to be managed. Hint: In the ways women often lead.
- [28:15] Would you put “Mother” on your resume or would you feel this might hinder your opportunities? Would you put “Parent” on your resume?
step 2: encourage men to do so also
- [29:40] Step 2: Encourage men to embrace parenting as a competitive advantage. My message to men: Embrace parenting as an important part of our society that creates empathetic skills in leaders. The pandemic has shifted mindsets for men regarding parenting, working, and household chore management.
- [32:55] The pandemic is shifting deeply held, traditional benefits. Embrace this and take advantage of conversations with company leaders and your manager to change the way you work. Talk about it. Be vocal.
step 3: take this moment while employers mindsets are shifting
- [34:08] Step 3: Take advantage of this moment while employer mindsets are shifting. Create a plan to get the flexible work practice you need so you do not burn out to the point of no return. This is the time to talk about job sharing to alleviate the pains employers are facing during Covid-19.
Links mentioned in this training:
- Excerpt from resignation letter from a friend forced out of her job
- HeyMama’s “Motherhood on the Resume” Initiative
- Marshall Plan for Moms
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