Companies Aren’t Hiring Moms!: What you can do as a mother and what society needs to do to help.
Women across the world are being punished for opting into motherhood. As if there weren’t enough concerns to have as a new mom already, the 2021 Women’s Report outlined the many challenges mothers face when entering the economic sector.
Mothers often endure long periods of unemployment, or are forced to take lower paying jobs after giving birth. Reasons for this include lack of childcare policies that take the burden off new moms, insufficient investment into early childhood care and education (ECCE) and perceptions by managers of women who took career breaks to take care of their children. The latter is said to be the biggest obstacle for mothers who want to return to work.
“Businesses could be losing up to 60% of female talent when they come back and this stems from the perceptions that exist,” said Lunga Tukani, a USB MBA alumnus and contributor to the Women’s Report.
“Businesses could be losing up to 60% of female talent when they come back and this stems from the perceptions that exist,” said Lunga Tukani
These perceptions are largely due to societal beliefs that constrict women’s identities once they marry or become mothers. Once women enter into these roles, their female reproductive abilities and duties to the household may be over-prioritised and over-emphasised. Women, who may prioritise social or work commitments at any point in their motherhood journey are often villainised and seen as bad mothers.
For many women who have just become mothers, grappling with these aspects of their identity may prove to be difficult to say the least. Although it is of course possible to be a caring, kind mother and a skilled professional at once, according to UK and USA studies, 50% of women are bothered by this ‘clash of identities’, while 18% suffer from depression. While some women will at some reconcile these two identities, employers may struggle to separate women from their motherly duties.
For many women who have just become mothers, grappling with these aspects of their identity may prove to be difficult to say the least. Although it is of course possible to be a caring, kind mother and a skilled professional at once, according to UK and USA studies, 50% of women are bothered by this ‘clash of identities’, while 18% suffer from depression
According to the Women’s Report, the CV’s of stay-at-home moms are overlooked by hiring managers. The Harvard Business Review also revealed through a study that stay-at-home moms are half as likely to acquire a job from an interview in comparison to women who were dismissed from work.
Above all else, It’s important that hirers understand that sidelining mothers in the workplace constitutes prejudice and that the notion that moms who have taken career breaks simply forget how to work is absurd.
In addition to the skills and qualifications that a mom may have, a new or even experienced mother who’s taken a career break has plenty of valuable skills that she can bring to the workplace.
The essential and ‘invisible’ work that mothers perform at home can cultivate better organisational skills, improved time and crisis management and killer problem solving and communication skills.
As many people know by now, the work that’s put into parenting is one of the most arduous jobs an adult can be faced with. It’s also largely thankless, due to the fact that household responsibilities like childcare and house chores are unpaid for and robs women of a chance at pursuing their careers.
This essential and ‘invisible’ work that mothers perform at home can cultivate better organisational skills, improved time and crisis management, and killer problem solving and communication skills.
In reality, telling a mother (who’s working on a deadline to mentor, teach, feed, and ensure her children go to and from school safely, while in communication with school staff and fellow parents for school events in the midst of doing household chores) that she’s not worthy of a job because of a career break is a cruel joke.
In order to unveil the values of this work and improve their eligibility in a job interview, it’s important for mothers to highlight the skills they acquire in motherhood alongside the qualifications and skills they already had before becoming mothers.
Of course, it’s not all up to mothers to individually solve the problems that they face in the job market.
“COVID-19 has highlighted two things: first, that transforming household and family gendered norms of care and domestic labour is vital for ensuring women’s full and equal participation in the economy. Second, it has highlighted the opportunity for workplaces to provide supportive environments for mothers through a range of interventions, such as on-site childcare, flexible working hours, and increased parental leave, ” wrote Jennifer Smout Freelance writer, researcher, gender analyst and contributor to the Women’s Report.
Some of the proposed solutions to the problems mothers face regarding employment in the report include providing better and affordable ECCE and childcare services in workplaces and communities, eradicating gendered norms of childcare through paternity leave, and ensuring financial support for childcare and job security for mothers.
As cliche as it may sound to many who still don’t value the work of mothers as much as they should, the jobs that women and mothers do outside of the conventional spaces of the workplace contributes to the fabric of our societies. And if we are to celebrate holidays like Women’s Day, society also needs to show women that they care about their well-being by ensuring equal opportunities as well as support in workplace.