The Motherhood Penalty
The Motherhood Penalty. Does it exist? Yes. Studies and empirical evidence proves that sadly, it does.
That there should never be a penalty associated with motherhood is one of our core beliefs at My Second Act.
Contrasting the Motherhood Penalty with the Fatherhood Bonus is belittling and unfair. The difference in how men and women are viewed after becoming parents lies in historic views of gender and parenting. Essentially the premise seems to be – a man who is a father will be a stable hire, while a woman who is a mother will work less hours, be less committed and lack focus.
We started My Second Act because when the time came for us to get back to work – what we saw was unnerving and unsettling. Companies and organizations did not seem keen to welcome women like us back, we felt judged by other women for making the choices we had, and the most alarming thing was, we knew dozens of women like ourselves. Getting back to work has been with costs that we have borne and while the journey has been rewarding, the question is – why should we have to pay these dues anyway?
We view parenting as an extraordinary set of skills and feel there is much to be said for life experience and wisdom gained. Parenting this generation of children requires a level of organization, commitment and supervision that is unparalleled.
So this puts forth another question – are we really penalizing strong and brilliant women for taking time off? Opting out has no impact on a person’s work ethic and it is really time for everyone to accept that as a woman grows older and plays the many roles she does in her life, she only becomes – smarter, savvier, more capable and if anything, a better multi-tasker.
Studies have always shown that women bring immeasurable value to the workplace. In a time when we are constantly trying to “have it all” we need to learn it isn’t just us. We need to change the way the rules of game have been written for women. While doing that, we need to show our children that it is possible to take a break, be a nurturer or a caregiver and then get back to a fruitful and satisfying career.
Talk about this, share your experience here. In sharing similar experiences, lies strength and perspective.
This is your Second Act. Let’s begin.