Working moms deserve more support in the workplace

working moms ed

According to a 2020 survey, one in four women are thinking about quitting their jobs. This isn’t because they can’t handle the work—it’s because women are expected to be both mothers and model employees, without the leeway to do both.

For centuries, women have been considered the primary caretakers. Society has only just begun to question that notion, but mothers are still left bearing the brunt of childcare.

Most women have careers just like their husbands. In 17 per cent of cases, women are even the “breadwinners” of the family. Yet, female income tends to be viewed as supplementary, even though most households rely on it on top of primary income. Regardless of that fact, mothers are still expected to be primarily responsible for their children.

The notion that raising a child is the mother’s job is outdated; it’s the responsibility of both parents, especially when both of those parents have jobs.

While many moms—single or otherwise—have juggled childcare and their careers for years, the pandemic has exacerbated these circumstances. Now, mothers are not only expected to take care of their children, but to work from home.

As explored in a recent The M Dash article, mothers are struggling to succeed in their careers while also taking care of their children. Childcare is a job all on its own, and expecting women to do it and their normal jobs without flexibility or support is, frankly, reprehensible.

Workplaces need to be more accommodating to parents, especially during the current pandemic. Without childcare services like schools or daycares, parents—especially women—are left struggling.

Instead of looking down on parents who are taking care of their children right now, employers need to be flexible. The pandemic has hit everyone hard, but especially parents.

Not all women feel comfortable asking for time off or flexibility on work projects, especially when women are often held to a higher standard than men at work. Instead of waiting for employees to come to them, workplaces need to proactively check in with their workers—parents or not—and make the necessary accommodations.

There’s no doubt women are beyond capable in the workplace. Rather than punishing them for juggling work and their children, employers should provide any supports they can, while recognizing how hard mothers are working right now both in and out of the workplace.

More generally, we need to stop expecting women to raise their kids singlehandedly. Fathers are just as capable of childcare. The sooner we accept that and recognize a more equal way of raising kids, the sooner women can stop putting their careers on pause unnecessarily.

Women are valuable members of the workforce; it’s time we acknowledge that.

—Journal Editorial Board

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