Register  |   Contact Us  |   Help  |   Employer
Sign In  |  

Forgot Password


New User?   |   Register Now

Resend Verification email


New User?   |   Register Now


Mothers-to-be step out

11/03/2014


Deborah Gillis, president and CEO, Catalyst discusses how we are losing out on an immense talent pool globally of mothers-to-be

By Viren Naidu

Women between the age group of 28 and 35 are opting out of the workforce to pursue maternity. This is a loss of a great talent pool.  
>> Indeed. Women are not opting out because women are less ambitious than men. Female executives are just as likely as male colleagues to aspire to the level of the CEO. That said, there are several factors that may contribute to women lowering their aspirations: societal pressure and expectations play a role, combined with what women see as a workplace not conducive to their goals. Let’s also acknowledge that at the end of the day, there is no such thing as ‘balance’. There will be times when family is more important and other times when work takes priority. If you are there for the most important things at work and the most important things at home, then you can let go of the rest. This way, women can stay guilt-free.

When women return to work post maternity, how can their transition be made hassle-free?

  • Ensure that you have complete confidence in your choice of childcare;
  • Develop an action plan, so that you are clear about your own vision of work-life effectiveness and then, make sure you stay true to it;
  • Communicate with other working parents in your company to understand how they are making it work;
  • Find a mentor / sponsor at work who has worked at a similar position as you have, in order to demonstrate your capabilities in your role, and even your willingness to take on more.

How can companies facilitate this endeavour?
I encourage conversations to begin early, so that young women understand their options before they hit the point when they are both establishing careers and having children. It’s important that young women see what’s possible, ask questions, and avoid making assumptions about what they can and cannot do. Companies too have to take full onus: on-ramping, keeping in touch while they are away, and training are all good examples, so that women employees don’t feel as disconnected on maternity leave or when there’s been a long break in their work cycle. Companies can offer flexible work timings and telecommuting, working parent support groups and mentorship to help with business and industry updates that she may have missed while she was away. Offering reliable child care options is the key. Families need to feel secure that their children are in good hands.