As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve been pondering how the pandemic has forced a reckoning between career ambitions and family aspirations for many women, and what companies can do to help them.
Working mothers are a resilient group, accustomed to juggling work responsibilities and family time with aplomb. Before the pandemic crisis, they had slowly been making progress in the workplace. But the challenges of the last couple of years have made many wonder whether all the scrambling has been worth it.
We know that women’s advancement in the workforce matters & research from McKinsey shows just how dramatically the pandemic has affected working mothers.
If organisations respond well by building a more flexible and empathetic workplace, they can retain the employees most affected by the pandemic and nurture a culture in which working mothers have equal opportunity to achieve their potential. And there are signs that this is beginning to happen.
But what about single working mothers?
Single mothers face a number of challenges in the workplace. Some of the most common problems they face include:
Lack of flexibility: Single mothers often struggle to find jobs that offer flexible working arrangements. This makes it difficult for them to balance work and childcare responsibilities.
Discrimination: Single mothers may face discrimination in the workplace based on their status as a parent. They may be passed over for promotions or job opportunities due to perceived concerns about their ability to balance work and family responsibilities.
Financial constraints: Single mothers may struggle financially, particularly if they are the sole breadwinner for their family. This can make it difficult to afford quality childcare or take time off work to care for a sick child.
Limited career advancement: Single mothers may find it difficult to advance in their careers due to the demands of parenting. They may have to take time off work to care for their children, which can impact their career progression.
Lack of support: Single mothers may feel isolated and unsupported in the workplace. They may not have access to resources or support systems that can help them balance work and family responsibilities.
Health and wellbeing: Single mothers may experience stress, anxiety, and other health problems due to the demands of parenting and work. This can impact their productivity and ability to succeed in the workplace.
So what can companies & organisations do to support working single mothers?
Offering flexible working arrangements: This can include options like telecommuting, part-time work, job sharing, or flexible schedules. This can help single mothers balance their work and childcare responsibilities.
Providing affordable childcare: Companies can offer on-site childcare facilities, subsidies for childcare expenses, or other programs that make it easier for single mothers to access quality childcare.
Providing parental leave: Companies can offer parental leave policies that allow single mothers to take time off work to care for a new child without sacrificing job security or benefits.
Offering support and resources: Companies can provide resources and support systems to help single mothers navigate the challenges of parenting and working. This can include access to counselling services, support groups, and other resources that can help single mothers manage stress and balance their responsibilities.
Addressing discrimination: Companies can take steps to address discrimination and bias against single mothers in the workplace. This can include offering training to managers and staff on how to support single mothers and prevent discrimination.
Providing career advancement opportunities: Companies can offer mentoring and leadership programs that help single mothers advance in their careers while balancing their parenting responsibilities.
By taking these steps, companies can help support working single mothers and create a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture for all employees.
But will they?
Does your company have a Employee Resource Group (ERG) for single parents?
But aren’t the challenges different for single mums and single dads?
What does your company do to support you?
Love to hear what your company is doing.