“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture, and transform.”
– Diane Mariechild
While the modern workforce, in many respects, has made significant strides in supporting mothers, many workplaces and stigmas aimed at working mothers reflect a halt or erasure in progress.
Let’s take a closer look at mothers in the U.S. today, in numbers:
- About 1 in 4 mothers are raising children on their own, according to the Pew Research Center
- Nearly 7 in 10 American mothers with children under 18 are in the labor force, according to a recent study from the National Women’s Law Center
- The U.S. Department of Labor found that approximately 47% of people in the American workforce are women
From obstacles to progressive ideologies working mothers continue to encounter in the U.S., examining the critical realities for these women is imperative to understanding how essential our support for them is.
The importance of challenging outdated workplace stigmas
In the workplace, and even during the job search process, mothers are met with a wide array of negative stereotypes. A recent study found that mothers faced more discrimination in the workplace than fathers and people without children. The study’s researchers also sent hundreds of fake resumes to prospective employers, and they found that mothers were half as likely to be called back for jobs.
Factoring in this study, the amount of stress that working mothers internalize from cultural, internal, and workplace expectations can be abundant. This hard reality is especially ironic given that working mothers contribute a great deal to the workplace. Motherhood serves as a valuable training ground for developing skills that are especially useful in the workplace, including communication, multitasking, and diplomacy.
A work in progress is still progress
As workplaces are incredibly varied, progress can look different when comparing one place of work to another. From restaurants to hospitals to corporate offices, working mothers are everywhere.
With the cost of child care nowadays ranging anywhere from about $8,500 to $28,000 in the U.S., mothers with younger children — particularly single mothers or mothers with limited internal and external support — are often left to heavily grapple with this financial challenge. That’s why, in corporate America, progress has come in the form on-site child care.
A recent PEW research survey found that 8 in 10 full-time working mothers said their current employment situation what was best for them and their families at their current stage. Today, 55% of mothers in the U.S. are employed full-time — a whopping 34% increase from just a half century ago. While these numbers can be attributed to a plethora of factors, they still represent the emergence of expansive spaces for working mothers today.
A recent Harvard study found that working moms set a prime example for their children. Researchers for the study, which included 50,000 children from career women in 25 countries, concluded that the daughters of these women grew to be more comfortable and successful with supervisory roles in the workplace, while their sons grew to be more empathetic.
We can serve as allies to working moms in our — and every — industry
In the trucking industry, many of us wear different hats. Some of us are driving the trucks, some are operating fleets, and some are engineering telematics. One thing is certain, though — there are mothers to be found amongst all of these jobs.
Here’s how you can lend your support to the working moms in your workplace:
- If you’re an executive, ensure your benefits cater to working moms: From quality maternity leave to child care incentives, showing the moms in your workplace you care is often a matter of showing them you care about their children, too.
- If you’re a manager, respect the importance of a work-life balance: While this could stand to benefit all of your employees, it is a particularly valuable mindset to employ when managing working mothers. Keeping non-emergency communication confined to business hours is just one way to put this into action.
- If you’re a peer, extend your empathy: Children are unpredictable, and they are almost entirely dependent on their parents. The next time your female coworker has to leave early to pick up her sick child from school, sharing a smile and a helping hand can go a long way.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the working mothers at Omnitracs, on the road, and everywhere in between! Read about how we celebrated all of the incredible women who make magic happen at Omnitracs this past International Women’s Day.