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  • Sandra Grandsoult

Happy Mother's Day! Here's how to better honor mothers

Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. Happy Mother’s Day to all who celebrate it—biological mothers, adoptive mothers, foster mothers, and those who play the important role of mother to others!

About 55% of mothers work full time outside the home, and an increasing number of mothers bring in more than half the household income.

Despite progress in recent decades, employees who are mothers, especially of children under 12, have historically faced a “motherhood penalty” in the form of lower wages, career stagnation, and increased vulnerability to layoff or dismissal.

If you lead an organization, it’s worth considering that mothers represent a wide range of professionals, experts, and skilled and essential workers. Alongside their functional expertise as engineers, doctors, data scientists, retailers, designers, lawyers, administrators, and more, they bring valuable leadership skills to the workplace, including communication, organization, collaboration, active listening, mediation, and calm in crisis. Our organizations suffer mightily when we lose them, and so does our economy.

What, then, should we do?

Here are a few high impact actions you can take to make a difference along the gamut of the employee experience:

  1. Audit hiring practices for bias. Mothers and women who would like to become mothers feel pressure to hide this from employers, with 21% of newly pregnant employees expressing that they are afraid to tell their boss.

  2. Remote and hybrid/flex work continues to be an excellent option for many working parents. Those who use the option should not be penalized by being excluded from meetings or projects. They should also not be minimized as candidates for promotion. Strategic and equitable performance metrics are essential to promoting the most deserving and effective employees.

  3. Childcare is critical. Workplaces that can offer a childcare solution will find they can keep more of their high performing employees who are parents.

  4. Lastly, only 23% of private industry workers in the US have access to paid parental leave. Media company theSkimm recently challenged US corporations to share their leave policies, arguing that younger workers consider this a priority in their job search. You can read more here and find a link to the ever-expanding database.

This Mother’s Day, commit to positive change for mothers in the workplace. Kick that motherhood penalty to the curb at your organization. If you need help, that’s what we do.


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