Women and the workplace has and will always be a hot topic.
Returning to work after maternity leave, women who don’t want to have children (and their take on maternity leave) or even women who strive to find that balance between motherhood and career. Many women are struggling to do so, day after exhausting day.
Women no longer accept the societal conform of quitting your job when you become a mother. And why should they? It is never expected of a man to stay at home and raise the little ones. I believe we can do better than that. I believe women should be given the support to find their own balance between work and motherhood.
While accepting an Emmy award recently, Michelle Williams touched on just this. We couldn’t help but join the standing ovation given to her by the world after her indomitable speech. She spoke about gender-equal pay and how it is a prevalent issue in our society. Despite the strides made in gender equality in the workplace, female employees are still being paid (and in some cases, treated) significantly lower than their male counterparts.
During her speech she said:
“I see this as an acknowledgement of what is possible when a woman is trusted to discern her own needs, feels safe enough to voice them, and respected enough that they’ll be heard”
She continued with her powerful words, “my bosses never presumed to know better than I did. They understood that when you put value into a person, it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value”.
She touched on a point I think is vitally important which is that with a little bit of understanding, open-mindedness and support, there is space for a huge change in the field of working mothers.
Working mums have different needs to other women with no children, women with older children and those who are yet to have children (if that is what they want).
We need to stop treating each employee with the same handbook and realise at different stages of their lives, women will have different needs. Her career should not be compromised for having a family. She should be given the opportunity to excel in her career with the support of her employer.
“Because one day she might stand in front of you and say thank you for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment – and not in spite of it.” Michelle Williams.
Tracey Quinn who has just been appointed Strategy Director at Family Friendly HQ says that since having children, her realization about just how important it is to have a flexible working environment for mums, has become more prominent than ever.
Tracey, who had worked in a plethora of industries such as theatre, sales and marketing, has written for Family Friendly HQ for four years in a freelance capacity previous to her new role within the company.
When the opportunity came about for promotion Tracey felt it was impossible for her to merge being mum and her passionate career.
However, Family Friendly HQ, which is part of Packed.House, were impassioned to support Tracey and give her the opportunity to do just that by phasing out the position to allow Tracey room to adapt as a new mum but also ease into her new role. They have offered her multiple flexible working options from home and within her second phase only being in house once a week.
Family Friendly HQ have admirably allowed Tracey to bring her baby to meetings, shoots and recording podcasts. Baby Willow also joined Tracey as MC for an event launching their new website. Speaking at the launch, Tracey said:
“It really has to be noted that Family Friendly HQ really do encompass all that their name suggests. They have been so unbelievably family-friendly in the way they have coordinated this role for me and in doing so, they have really given me a fire in my belly to want to give it 200%”
This is exactly the point, supporting women's needs is what is going to encourage woman to excel in their careers. Where a woman feels listened to, understood and supported, really great things can happen.
Anna Whitehouse (better known on social media as Mother Pukka) is an ingenious working mum advocate.
She believes the future lies in flexible working patterns. That women should not have to quit their job when they become a mother and we wholeheartedly agree.
She says, “all mothers are full-time mothers. There is no part-time option in the face of concern over jabs, a niggling cough, playing enough, reading enough, being enough. Whether it is 42 hours a week strapped to a rickety chair, shop floor or coffee counter or 365 days strapped to an infant, parenting is a full-time role. We are all working full-time”