Moms, relieve the stress – time for a massage
May 4, 2022
Calling all the king’s horses and all the king’s men…and women
May 4, 2022

‘Error 404’: Women and mothers in the workplace

This year, in keeping with the recognition of International Women’s Day theme #BreaktheBias, JobsTT and Progressive (Recruitment Specialist Limited) celebrated women and the strides mothers have made.

The discourse of structural barriers faced by women in the workplace is nothing new when discussing gender inequality. What is new are the challenges and subtle power wins mothers in the workplace have faced amidst the pandemic and their silent and noteworthy wins, post the climax of Covid-19.

The data has shown the reality women face in the workplace, which can be daunting, when measured against research in comparison to their male colleagues. Head of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office, Pedro Conceição in 2020’s UN report on gender social norms, indicated “gender gaps are still all too obvious in other areas, particularly those that challenge power relations and are most influential in actually achieving true equality and the fight about gender equality is a story of bias and prejudices”.

Coupled with this cultural and sometimes deafening silence, Covid-19 has cleared the lenses on the looking glass on how working moms manoeuvre both their full-time role as caregivers and teachers, alongside their paid full-time/part-time employee status.

The role of an employed mother has many responsibilities. At a cursory glance at this ‘job’ description, the team at JobsTT would not be able to list all its duties and responsibilities.

Figuratively, if our headhunting service offered at Progressive Recruitment Service was contracted to fill the position of mother, the extensive measure of complexity and range of capabilities needed would no doubt, prove difficult to fill.

The dynamic and fluidity of working moms continue to evolve not only with the growth of their children, but changes in society and the impact of a global pandemic.

So, in 2022, what exactly has changed? Stacey Delo, CEO, Après (group for working moms) highlights, “The push and pull between career and parenting is not new, but the opportunity the pandemic created to challenge traditional work structures that have historically penalized working mothers is.”

Moreso, JobsTT, during its numerous recruitment placements has noted that mothers have:

  1. Adjusted their career paths and work, in general, as their children age
  1. Opted for part-time employment
  2. Decided to take unpaid leave or vacation leave in tandem with their children’s schedule
  1. Consider downshifting their careers
  1. Leaving the workforce entirely to manage the schooling and childcare roles

Delo (2021) continues, “Now is the time to do the work to create new models that allow working mothers to contribute at work and still be the mother they want to be. Companies that understand and embrace this will be better off when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent.”

The significance of the workload can be minimised by a two-parent household. No doubt, a greater strain is placed on mothers where no additional support is available (see illustration).

Employers and organisations can support working mothers in the working environment by considering the following programmes and work solutions, which amidst the peak of Covid-19, has proven a successful working model once managed and equipped with the right tools.

  1. Consider a work from home/hybrid work model
  1. Create a norm around flexible working hours
  1. Rehiring (for mothers wishing to re-join the organisation post-voluntary separation or mutual resignation)
  1. Offer a diverse and accommodating parental leave handbook.
  2. Personalise employee benefits and rewards (i.e., additional paid time off versus vouchers or gift cards).

The team at JobsTT and Progressive understands the challenges mothers face in the working environment, starting from the everyday traffic woes, afterschool care and involvement in extra-curricular activities can be a lot.

At the very top, Operations Director Carolyn de la Rosa manages and juggles between full-time leadership duties at the office daily with her team and school pick-up, drop offs and tennis practice.

Our HR Manager Arlene Lynch and Social Media Strategist Jinell John, who are both dedicated mothers and members of the JobsTT and Progressive team, are core testimonials of how our business model has adapted to the demands of our working moms.

We’ve adjusted with flexible hours, and permanent hybrid business model –real-time factors that may challenge optimal work performance (back-to-school traffic/online school) susceptibility of Covid-19 among children to provide a better environment for working moms. Everyone benefits.

To this end, we wish all mothers and working mothers (in the office and at home) a Happy Mother’s Day!

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash