According to new research, most Americans believe moms make some of the best leaders in the workforce—but motherhood also comes with a major career penalty. What is the motherhood penalty? It’s a cultural catch-22 that needs to be addressed.
Bright Horizons’ fifth-annual Modern Family Index Report found that a whopping 89 percent of American workers believe that working moms in leadership roles bring out the best in employees when compared with working dads or workers without kids. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed describe working moms as better listeners than other employees. They also describe moms as calmer in crisis (51 percent), more diplomatic (47 percent), and better team players (44 percent).
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In other words, most would agree that motherhood prepares you for a leadership role in the workplace. And yet it is exactly motherhood that prevents many women from achieving those leadership positions. Despite being thought of as an ideal candidate, many moms face more challenges and obstacles to promotions compared to fathers or employees without kids in the workforce.
According to the survey, 69 percent of of respondents said working moms are more likely to be passed up for a new job than other employees and 60 percent of respondents admitted that career opportunities are given to less qualified employees instead of moms who are more skilled.
Bright Horizons considers these findings a call to action to change the landscape of the workplace. “We need to support and embrace motherhood in the workplace and learn from our leaders who are also parents,” said Bright Horizons Chief Human Resources Officer, Maribeth Bearfield in a press release.
“In order to move forward, change attitudes, and make progress, organizations should focus on supporting young female professionals and holding all employees accountable to make sure there is a real path to the top for women as they grow their families.”
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