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As business and HR leaders and managers create employee experience and recruiting strategies, they shouldn't overlook an important part of the workforce -- mothers.
The workforce includes about 23.5 million women with children under the age of 18 and nearly two-thirds of those women work full-time and year-round, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Gender bias and wage disparity have long existed. However, the pandemic has had extremely negative effects for women in general, and especially for working mothers.
In September 2020, more than 860,000 women dropped out of the workforce, compared with just over 200,000 men, according to the National Women's Law Center. The current unemployment rate for women has more than doubled the pre-pandemic rate, and economists predict the workforce exodus could set women back a generation.
Business and HR leaders can help reverse such statistics by creating flexible schedules and other women-friendly policies. Including women in the workforce is critical since they can bring so many valuable assets. Here are five of those.
1. Motivation and time management
The bulk of childcare and household duties typically falls to women, even in this day and age. That means time management is an essential skill for mothers. They must balance the daily tasks of running a household, taking care of kids and ensuring that all the rotating parts of a family and household are managed. Their capacity for management is well-versed and ever-expanding, as they must always use their time wisely.
There is perhaps no demographic more motivated to make a remote work opportunity successful, since most women with children deeply desire freedom and flexibility in their work to be more present for their kids and family. Remote work can enable mothers to balance work and family.
2. Organizational skills
From vacations to birthday parties, mothers are typically the team captain when it comes to planning and executing. They have to find the most efficient way to get everyone to where they need to go and check off items on their to-do list. And mothers need to be able to stay organized, level-headed and flexible when disruptions occur.
3. People management skills
Mothers have to deal with many personality types and different levels of maturity. Being able to wrangle one's own children and others' children when helping out with the carpool or hosting playdates creates sharp people management skills. These activities also build strong listening skills, empathy and conflict resolution -- all of which are essential when dealing with work colleagues or customers.
4. Negotiation and problem-solving skills
A reality of motherhood is that problems will arise. From getting children to eat their vegetables to current COVID-19 schoolwork challenges, motherhood can be a great training ground for developing problem-solving and negotiation skills. Mothers must also remain persistent and flexible when managing kids of multiple age levels and the varying activities that come along with them, which never seems to be a linear equation. These negotiation and problem-solving skills are an asset to the workplace. They can help create win-win solutions, support the employee experience, and build effective teams.
5. Multitasking skills
Multitasking is a requirement of motherhood. Preparing dinner while helping one child with their science project is a typical scene in a mother's life. The need for multitasking has only increased tenfold since the pandemic hit, with mothers needing to take on even more roles as schools went virtual. These are multitasking skills for virtually every job.
About the author
Lesley Pyle is CEO of HireMyMom, a placement firm that helps entrepreneurs and small businesses find and hire freelancers and remote employees.