“The mommy track” – that’s the terminology reserved for women in academia who also choose to have children. There is, to my knowledge no “daddy track,” although, in some offices men who have families struggle just as much to get promotions. This isn’t about men, though. This is about the fact that a woman, whose uterus has basically just stopped being an open wound and whose offspring is 100% dependent upon her or a bottle filled with formula for life often returns to work six weeks after having a baby. She may or may not be in need of physical therapy; she is still at risk for postpartum complications including postpartum preeclampsia. It’s about the fact that women need to fight for sick leave and even though research has shown that they perform better than their childless peers, mothers earn an average of over $10,000 less than their peers, held to higher standards than childless women, and passed over for promotions.
In her book, A Uterus is a Feature, Not a Bug, Sarah Lacy talks about the need to value mothers in the workplace as we bring a lot of value to a company. Such work is valuable because mothers are key players when it comes to a company’s culture. I highly recommend this book – it’s a really great guide for how working moms can take over their careers and push forward, moving through the current ceilings that are trying to dock them from being successful in their positions.
• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: HarperBusiness (November 14, 2017)
A rallying cry for working mothers everywhere that demolishes the “distracted, emotional, weak” stereotype and definitively shows that these professionals are more focused, decisive, and stronger than any other force.
Working mothers aren’t a liability. They are assets you—and every manager and executive—want in your company, in your investment portfolio, and in your corner.
There is copious academic research showing the benefits of working mothers on families and the benefits to companies who give women longer and more flexible parental leave. There are even findings that demonstrate women with multiple children actually perform better at work than those with none or one.
Yet despite this concrete proof that working mothers are a lucrative asset, they still face the “Maternal Wall”—widespread unconscious bias about their abilities, contributions, and commitment. Nearly eighty percent of women are less likely to be hired if they have children—and are half as likely to be promoted. Mothers earn an average $11,000 less in salary and are held to higher punctuality and performance standards. Forty percent of Silicon Valley women said they felt the need to speak less about their family to be taken more seriously. Many have been told that having a second child would cost them a promotion.
Fortunately, this prejudice is slowly giving way to new attitudes, thanks to more women starting their own businesses, and companies like Netflix, Facebook, Apple, and Google implementing more parent-friendly policies. But the most important barrier to change isn’t about men. Women must rethink the way they see themselves after giving birth. As entrepreneur Sarah Lacy makes clear in this cogent, persuasive analysis and clarion cry, the strongest, most lucrative, and most ambitious time of a woman’s career may easily be after she sees a plus sign on a pregnancy test.
About Sarah Lacy
Sarah Lacy is the founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of the investigative tech news site Pando.com. She has been covering technology news and entrepreneurship for over fifteen years, with stints at BusinessWeek and TechCrunch before founding her own company while on maternity leave in 2011. She lives in San Francisco. Most importantly of all, she is the mother of two young children.
Follow Sarah on Twitter.