HR Leads Business

Jun 28, 2018 | Esther Kestenbaum, CEO, DayOne Baby

3 Ways to Make Conditions Better for Mothers in the Workplace

The recent New York Times article, "Pregnancy Discrimination is Rampant Inside America's Biggest Companies" sheds light on an issue that has been facing women in the workplace for decades. Gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace are devastating realities that plague women across America. Forty-two percent of women report gender discrimination in the workforce. By not promoting skilled pregnant workers and not offering paid maternity leave and lactation services, corporations are failing women--and mothers in particular--across all industries.

I am Chief Executive Officer of a company that focuses on bettering conditions for mothers in the workplace, so this story hits home. In my line of work, I’ve met women like those profiled in The New York Times – women who have tried their hardest to be stellar employees while raising families and dealing with the ups and downs of pregnancy and motherhood. I hope more women come forward and share their experiences because unfortunately, this is a common story. That said, this will no longer be tolerated. It is a call to arms.

But what can be done?

How do employers and human resource departments foster a healthier, more inclusive environment for their female employees and families? 

Here are three ways to improve your work environment:

  1. Provide multiple avenues for employees to report sexual harassment in the workforce. Many are not comfortable going directly to a supervisor or a human resource manager.

  2. Investigate your policies. Are women and men paid equally? Are they treated equally? Are women passed over for promotions based on their decision to grow their families? Women earn 4 percent less per child, while men earn 6 percent more when they become fathers. Men should not receive a “bonus” while women are penalized.

  3. Provide new mothers returning to work with access to necessary facilities and amenities for breastfeeding. Not many know that companies that provide lactation support program retain 94 percent of their employees after maternity leave, compared with the national average of 59 percent.

We all must come together and support pregnant and working mothers to move the needle. We already know satisfied employees generate better results. Employee benefits aren’t simply for employees; They also have long-term financial benefits for companies, large or small.

 

Let’s act swiftly, so we keep bright, motivated women in the workplace.