Motherhood is a complex process in a woman’s life. Despite the joy that having children can bring, women face tremendous changes in their lives. A woman’s body and lifestyle are transforming, she can face difficulties in almost all areas of her life: from physical and mental health to issues of work and career. This article will be devoted to the problem in the latter area, because I would like to take a deeper look at the phenomenon of the motherhood penalty, which does not pop up so often in the philistine understanding of the topic of motherhood, but it is a social problem that directly affects the hiring of mothers, their wages and attitude towards them at work.
Motherhood penalty is a concept proposed by sociologists, the main idea of which is that women who are mothers face difficulties in the workplace and, in fact, are discriminated against in comparison with their childless colleagues. In fact, it is costing them $16,000 a year in lost wages, according to an analysis of Census data by the nonprofit advocacy organization National Women’s Law Center (the U.S.) in 2018. American Journal of Sociology stated that mothers were even considered to be 12.1 percentage points less committed to their jobs than non-mothers while fathers were perceived as being 5 percentage points more committed than non-fathers.
Fortunately, there are some organizations that are trying to help women in such a life situation. We want to highlight a few such organizations helping mothers to get back to work by providing them flexible work opportunities, resources to balance and bridge the career gaps caused by motherhood as well as guidance and psychological help to boost confidence.
Pregnant then Screwed
Pregnant then Screwed is a British project which focuses mainly on legal support of mothers. For instance, Pregnant then Screwed took the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the high court for discriminating against women in the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), because eligibility criteria for this scheme were unfair for women as they do not exempt periods of maternity leave. This initiative also supports the idea that all the jobs should be introduced as flexible unless the company justifies that flexibility is not possible for this job. Moreover, Pregnant then Screwed pays attention to the situation in which widely-spread NDAs are the thing that silences employees, and does not protect the commercial secrets of the company, but employees have to turn a blind eye to sexual violence, discrimination and problems with the maternity leave. The project also offers helpline on employment rights, this helpline might help with flexible working requests, rights around redundancy, COVID-19 situations and questions about maternity leave.
The Mom Project
The Mom Project is a digital talent marketplace from the USA, which empowers women to improve their ability to find suitable jobs. For example, you can use a Resume Rev program, in which women fill out their profile, follow the advice given to them in the process, and end up with a formatted resume that can be downloaded. There is also a RALLY Program in which there are two sides: a booster and a boostee, who match each other. A booster, who is already a career professional, supports a boostee, who is a job seeker or return-to-worker. What’s interesting is that even if you are not a mom, you can participate in this program, but, unfortunately, it applies to those who live in the United States. The project also has its own RISE scholarship, which can be obtained by moms of colour and gives them the opportunity to get upskill certifications and help from the community.
The Working Mom Initiative
The Working Mom Initiative, which is based in Canada, connects hiring companies to the candidates who are moms, caregivers and others that need flexible work. This initiative tries to avoid strict eight-hour office schedules for its candidates and fights for gender equality and the empowerment of women. It is also interesting that they pay attention to the family-friendly community and work-and-life balance, which is crucial for working moms.
The WoMo network
The WoMo network is a subscription platform from the United Kingdom that supports women and gives them practical pieces of advice and tips in the context of motherhood and career. Moreover, it tries to minimize the challenges of this journey not only for women but for employers and to ease all the legal issues that might arise in the maternity process. This initiative also has a blog, where you can find articles on a variety of articles that can be useful for mothers: from talking about STDs with teens to the story of working mothers during the pandemic. The WoMo network was also awarded as one of the Top 100 Working Mom Blogs and Websites To Follow in 2021.
Working Moms Against Guilt
Working Moms Against Guilt was started as a blog in 2006 by four working moms of young children. This initiative has many useful and interesting articles associated with the whole process of motherhood. Here are tips for returning to work after maternity leave, here you can find time management tips for working moms. They also provide resources for working moms, for example, top blogs for working moms, best books and magazines for working moms, mom friendly employers and organizations. So such a blog becomes informational support for working mothers, which they may need so much.
Thus, we can be glad that there are initiatives and projects that help women with legal and career advice and simply share their experience, which gives a feeling of being together. However, it would be great if the information about the concept of the motherhood penalty was disseminated in all societies since for some this issue remains a blind spot, and as you know, the one who owns information owns the world (and can change it).