Mother’s Day marks an annual celebration in our lives and the contributions mothers make both at home and at work. It is an opportunity to showcase the invaluable contributions of working mothers and the unique challenges this talent pool faces today.
With more than 70 percent of U.S. mothers in the workplace, we can close the gender gap in corporate leadership. Companies can create a corporate culture that encourages women to stay in the workforce, if that is their choice or their need.
One area companies can prioritize is addressing unconscious bias that women with children face. According to data from sociology professor Michelle Budig, at the University of Massachusetts, mothers are often seen as being less competent and committed to their jobs. And for mothers of color who already face biases in the workplace, the impact is even greater.
Biases can also lead to a widened wage gap and greater barriers to promotion for women. According to a recent analysis of Census data conducted by the National Women’s Law Center, mothers are typically paid only 71 cents for every dollar paid to fathers, which translates to a loss of $16,000 annually.
Given these challenges, some women who give birth decide not to return to the workforce. For some this choice is voluntary. For others it is due to a lack of professional support, inadequate maternity leave or unaffordable childcare, or all three.
Now the good news! The Paradigm for Parity® coalition was founded to achieve a new norm in corporate leadership: one in which women and men have equal power, status, and opportunity. In our 5-Point Action Plan, the coalition defines bold and specific actions to accelerate the pace of gender equality in senior management roles—which will help companies address some of the challenges facing working mothers as they pursue their career goals.
The companies that embrace a flexible work environment and base career progress on business results and performance and not “presence” are appreciated by working mothers who may need flexible hours to meet family demands while still getting their work done.
We applaud our Paradigm for Parity® coalition member companies who are taking steps to support working mothers. One example is a coalition member company, Maven, a digital healthcare company that advances women's health, family planning, and diversity in the workforce, and a leader in enabling working women and new parents to start and grow families while maintaining momentum in their careers. Maven’s flagship product is the Family Benefits platform, that provides its employees with the necessary clinical, behavioral, and wellness support needed to achieve their family goals and grow their careers.
This Mother’s Day, the Paradigm for Parity® coalition celebrates the contributions of working mothers and the companies that value their contributions with a supportive workplace to achieve their potential as women and mothers.