It’s no surprise that the Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected working mothers. According to the April Jobs Report, nearly 4.2 million women have been excluded from the labor market, mostly black and Latin, as a direct result of the public health crisis and the unequal division of labor. work that still persists inside the home. As the country slowly but steadily reopens and people return to work, women struggle to re-enter a workforce that has long been mean to working mothers – over 4 million people who have lost their jobs, nearly 2 million remain unemployed.
Workers are in demand, and now is the time to proudly state that being a mom doesn’t take away your abilities as an employee or entrepreneur – it improves them.
“The challenge ahead is to help these 2 million women return to the workforce,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said this month. “Our policy making has failed to take into account that people’s work and personal lives are inextricably linked, and if one suffers, the other suffers. The pandemic has made it clear.”
But the truth is, the challenges for moms in the workplace existed long before Covid-19 ravaged the country. The wages of first-time mothers fell by 30% – a byproduct of the pre-existing gender gap and the fact that the majority of childcare responsibilities still fall mainly on women, who must therefore reduce their childcare responsibilities. working hours. Meanwhile, fathers earn about 20% more than men without children due to several factors, including “hours worked, increased effort and affirmative action,” according to the researchers. In total, 72% of working men and women say that women are penalized in their careers for having children, unlike men.
Given the disparities, it’s understandable that working mothers want to minimize or even hide motherhood from current or potential employers. In fact, 1 in 4 mothers admit to being concerned about the perceptions of their coworkers once they have children, and 1 in 5 women are nervous about telling their employer that she is pregnant. Some of their fears are unfortunately justified: 41% of workers think that mothers are less dedicated to their work than non-mothers, and 38% consider them to need more flexible working hours.
We need to tackle this stigma and condescension head-on by announcing from the start that we are working mothers and that we have extra strengths as employees: we need to put the word “mother” on our resumes. It fights implicit and explicit prejudices by proclaiming that motherhood is something unambiguously positive, let alone a common life choice. It also helps to demonstrate that the skills mothers use to keep families afloat are transferable in the workplace.
That’s why on Tuesday my organization, HeyMama, a membership-based online community for entrepreneurial and working mothers, is launching a campaign to get women to add “motherhood” to their resumes. We hope moms will post #MotherhoodOnTheResume to encourage each other, recruit managers and those who support working moms to break down cultural barriers.
We will not only encourage these women to type mom on a resume, but also help them list the skills that make them desirable job candidates. Motherhood needs to be recognized for what it really is: a training ground for leadership in all its forms.
Trying to potty train a rebellious toddler in a pandemic is a crash course in crisis management. Resolving a dispute between two hard-headed siblings is a free – and often recurring – class in conflict resolution. Balancing the family budget, managing a large number of schedules for family members, and in the age of Covid-19, working from home while facilitating online learning, cooking and cleaning at home are all valuable capabilities for employees.
At some level, society as a whole already understands this. 91% of working Americans believe mothers bring a unique set of skills to leadership roles – including being better listeners (65%), calmer in crises (51%), more diplomatic (47%) and best team players (44%). ) – and 89% think they bring out the best in employees. But because of the stigma that persists, moms need support to make this point more visible and emphatic.
Of course, there is a substantial risk for those who incorporate motherhood and the experience it has given them into workplace conversations and job applications. This risk is arguably higher for black, Indigenous and working mothers of color who experience racial and gender bias. Since black and brown mothers do not have sufficient access to affordable child care, reliable health care and other support systems that would make it easier for them to thrive in the home. workplace, they will undoubtedly face additional judgment and hurdles from hiring managers who consider leaving early to pick up children or missing a day’s work to care for sick children as a burden. blow against them as opposed to a fact of life.
And yet, in the wake of the historic job loss and so-called divestiture, we are on the verge of changing the way hiring managers, supervisors, employers and co-workers view motherhood and work. as these women return to paid employment. Workers are in demand, and now is the time to proudly state that being a mom doesn’t take away your abilities as an employee or entrepreneur – it improves them.