Because of the ever-existing patriarchy and its perception as something very normal and, in some cases, a “tradition”, women have always had to make a deliberate choice between their career and family. This “choice” defies the word’s very meaning since, in reality, it is a settlement.
One such settlement is when mothers face bias, have to downsize their aspirations and goals, and even quit their jobs. Maternal discrimination can manifest in different ways, coming from hiring committees, colleagues, and individuals conducting performance evaluations.
Obviously, with this new ‘role’ in their lives, women struggle to balance family and employment. But the critical question here is: is it fair to discriminate against them?
It is essential to understand how mothers think about their careers in their totality. Caregiving is a duty that both parents should essentially be involved in, and it is the family’s and the employer’s responsibility to understand that.
Moreover, apart from paid maternity leaves, paternity leaves should also be normalized. The child is as much a responsibility of the father as the mother, and it’s high time that people stop perpetuating such stereotypes that it is only the woman’s role to bring up a child.
When we consider the case of single mothers, it should be an employer’s duty to make them feel comfortable and try to make their work environment secure for them.
It is often seen that as soon as women are pregnant, people suddenly become skeptical of their commitment and skills for some reason. With the existing discrimination that women have to face daily, it is exhausting to prove to people who believe that women can be good at only one responsibility at a time and that one duty comes at the cost of another.
Staying on top of work at both places may come at the cost of their me-time, but working mothers do their best to do justice to both.
The joy of motherhood is unmatchable for many women, but that does not mean that this joy has to compensate for the pleasure of success in the workforce. Balancing is challenging, but it’s tough for everyone and not just women.
Organizations and companies should understand that a working mother doesn’t want to quit or downsize her goals. Instead, she wants support and flexible working hours to support her family and herself through this transitional phase in their life.