Career and motherhood are still, for many women, synonymous with "high levels of stress", "constant juggling" and "needing help", especially in the current Covid crisis. But companies can do something about this, says professional coach Sara Bruzy, a partner of Cala Consulting, during the webinar "How to create a positive and inclusive culture for working mothers ". An online event that took place on 19th November 2020 - in English this time - attended by approximately 10 professionals from the Cala Learning Hub network.

A difficult reality and multiple challenges to address

Let's start with some figures to clarify the situation. According to a survey by the BVA institute for the Conseil Supérieur de l'Egalité Professionnelle ("Taking parenthood into account in working life"),  80% of women have already heard negative remarks about motherhood within their companies. More specifically, 75% say that motherhood has a negative impact on their careers, 67% say that it is an obstacle to promotion and 65% say that it is an obstacle to salary increases...

Yet working mothers are as much a part of the talent pool as any other employee. Not only do they contribute to the diversity of profiles in teams, but they are often even considered more productive and better at resolving conflicts.

The solution: creating a parent-friendly work environment

There are a number of things that companies can do to enable working mothers to have successful careers while balancing work and family life. For example: keeping women on the list of High Potential employees, offering them fair and equitable parental leave or promoting women to management positions. It can also be helpful to call on specialist coaches to support working mothers when they return to work after parental leave.

Here are examples of actions taken by companies that have signed the Charter for Corporate Parenthood:

  • Temporary adjustment of working hours in the event of family difficulties
  • Facilitating part-time work and ensuring that there will be no negative impact on career development
  • Simple rules for daily work life (no early morning or late evening meetings, etc.)
  • Organisation of parental leave and ensuring that there will be no negative impact on career
  • One to one discussions before and after parental leave to support these transitions

As we can see, there is still room for improvement. And other factors are also emerging, and this time, it concern fathers. According to a study recently published in Social Science Research, the gender pay gap is now between employees who are parents (both men and wormen) - and earn less - and those who are not. So having children while pursuing a career will soon no longer be just a woman's problem...


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