Avoiding the “Motherhood Penalty”

There is an ongoing stigma that once a woman becomes a mother, she will stop caring about her professional responsibilities and be a less valuable employee. Interestingly, the same rules don’t apply to men – in fact, while women see their earnings drop by 4% for each child they have, men’s incomes increase by 6% per child that they have.  So what can be done? This piece in GoBankingRates discusses the issue in greater detail and shares recommendations on how to avoid this penalty.

Becoming Helpable

Caroline Kim Oh is an executive and leadership coach with a focus on BIPOC and women leaders in diverse fields, including social impact, marketing, creativity, entrepreneurship, and technology. (She also served as a facilitator in the pilot program of the Women’s Entrepreneurship program) Caroline is especially energized by supporting her clients to become confident and high-performing leaders while enjoying the right mix of work-life-fulfillment ratios.

In this video (under three minutes long), Caroline shares some important messages about selfcare. (We love her phone analogy – so true!)

“The Giving Tree” Gets a Refresh

Shel Silverstein’s classic parenting allegory, The Giving Tree, is a story where the tree (referenced as she/her) gives up every piece of herself to help a young boy.

The story was always a bit disturbing – as if the badge of parenting – and more specifically, motherhood, was to give away all of oneself until one had nothing left. We recently came across this re-write that was imagined by playwright and screenwriter Topher Payne. Payne re-titled it “The Tree Who Set Healthy Boundaries” and you can read the newly edited version here.

Our favorite part is that the tree “took courses online and got her certification in small business management”….and went on to operate a profitable bakery (selling apple pies!) with the boy.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving – with healthy boundaries and successful business operations!

Flexible Workplaces and Impact on Women

Woman working from home

This article from Politico entitled “You Are Mommy Tracked to the Billionth Degree” explores how the concept of the flexible workplace has been shifted due to the pandemic. Women, who were more likely than men to request flex/hybrid schedules in the past, used to face a penalty since they weren’t considered to be “real” members of the work team. But after 18+ months of many people working at least in part from home due to COVID restrictions, businesses are now re-evaluating how hybrid work my now be the future of a lot of white collar jobs. Whether or not there will still be a penalty for working remotely – or whether it will become a new norm – is yet to be seen.

Offering Free Childcare Slashes Turnover At Small Business

Headshot of Starr Edwards, founder of Bitchin' Sauce

In this article from Fast Company, Starr Edwards, founder of Bitchin’ Sauce, shares how offering free childcare augmented retention and hiring, especially during the worst of the pandemic. Edwards shares, ” Everyone touts work-life balance—and this is one of the most essential forms of that. Can you care for your family and work at the same time? If people can find ways of doing that, whether it’s subsidizing outside care or doing it internally like we have, I think ultimately it’s in the company’s best interest.”

Millions Of Women Have Exited The Workforce – And May Not Return

silhouette of woman in motion and holding a briefcase

This recent segment from NPR’s Morning Edition discusses how the direct and indirect impact of the COVID pandemic drove women out of the workforce to be at home. With a return to “normal”, many women aren’t returning to their same roles. The article and accompanying audio segment shares some reasons as to why this might be the case – but one thing is clear from the segment and that is that a lot of women are thinking more about freelancing or launching their own enterprises. While being an entrepreneur may not provide the same financial security as a “traditional” job, it can provide flexibility that many – women especially – have come to see as critical over the past yet.

MSNBC Interview With US Vice President Kamala Harris

Cartoon drawing of US Vice President Kamala Harris

As part of the launch of Forbes‘ “50 Over 50” list, Vice President Kamala Harris sits down for an exclusive interview with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski to discuss not evaluating herself based on age, eating ‘No’ for breakfast, working with women-owned small businesses and encouraging women and girls to know their strength. Click here to watch.

Are “Returnships” A Solid Option For Women?

photo of woman standing inside a cave in a beam of light that is streaming in from opening

Many adults need to take an off-ramp from the professional workplace during their careers. Birthing/caring for children, looking after aging family members, following a partner due to dual-career challenges and military service are just a few of the reasons why people – especially women – may find themselves reducing hours or taking a complete leave of absence from full time work. The demands placed on women have become even more apparent during COVID when virtual schooling and the lack of available childcare have placed more pressure on parents as they try to keep all the balls in the air.

One opportunity that may help more women re-enter the worplace as we find our way out of the COVID tunnel is the concept of “returnships”. Returnship programs are similar to internships but are meant specifically for those who are looking to rejoin the workforce after taking time away. This link from August 2020 shares a list of 15 companies that have instituted returnship programs. In addition, this piece from Fortune shares thoughts on how this model may be particularly useful for women in a post-COVID workforce.

Thinking Back and Looking Forward

headshot of Caroline Kim Oh
Caroline Kim Oh

Caroline Kim Oh is an executive and leadership coach and has also been a course facilitator in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Certificate program. She just sent out a “year end review” newsletter that contained a link to a expert interview she had with WID (Women In Development). While the article is usually only available to members of WID, it was reprinted with permission here. While reflection is a common practice as we near the end of a calendar year, Caroline’s interview shares examples of important questions that we should all be asking ourselves at any time of the year to help reflect, reset, and refocus.