In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re exploring one of the most common assumptions there is out there about what happens to women’s ambitions and career aspirations when they become mothers.
The good news first: More and more people and organizations are amending their understanding—and their company practices—about women and mothers in the workforce.
But there’s still work that needs to be done. Unfortunately, there remains an often unspoken sentiment that as women start thinking of starting a family, their priorities change and their career aspirations begin to wane.
This assumption affects how a woman’s commitment, availability, or suitability for a position, is perceived, which then translates to fewer opportunities for women with children.
I would say there’s definitely a value shift when you have children. My values have changed because now my time is way more important actually. Yes, my kids are number one to me. But also it means I value my time, which means I am crazy productive. So the time I do have, I’m not wasting. I get in. I’m very productive. I get things done. And I get out. But I’m no less committed or no less ambitious. I’ve just had a bit of a value shift. —Jennifer Hargreaves
My guest today, Jennifer Hargreaves, has first-hand experience and in this episode, she shares how this prevailing assumption limited her options at the company where she was employed at the time she became pregnant with her first child.
Fortunately for her, Jennifer had the financial resources to be able to quit work for a time, as she cared for her first child and gave birth to a second.
But there came a time when she began to feel the pull for substantive work beyond parenting.
Her experience searching for suitable opportunities, as supported by stories of other moms in her network, would prove the limited options for mothers looking for flexible work or career paths.
Out of this frustrating realization came a new idea. And after a well-positioned challenged from a friend, Jennifer began exploring the idea of creating a community that brings together companies looking for talented women looking for flexible work arrangements, and the women who can and want to fill those shoes.
I thought this is such a crazy waste of talent. These women are so smart. They’re ambitious. Maybe not in the traditional sense from a company’s point of view. But they are ambitious. They’re driven. They’re hard-working. And companies are losing this talent. I remember I was moaning to a bunch of my friends. And finally, my girlfriend said, ‘Stop talking about it and do something about it.’ —Jennifer Hargreaves
In this episode, Jennifer talks about her career journey, from that fateful day when she was first told that the position she wanted was not suitable for women wanting to start a family, to the birth of her company, Tellent.
Highlights of Episode 41
- Jennifer’s first experience with workplace bias against pregnant women
- The challenge women face when looking for flexible work arrangement
- Where the idea of Tellent came from
- The process that Jennifer took to explore the idea for a year before fully committing to it
- What helped her the most during her career transition
Mentioned in this episode
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