Women are constantly struggling to allocate adequate time and focus to creating a ripe environment and support structure for the next generation to prosper, and to building a career that is valued by the formal economy. Usually we are forced to pick one and stick with it- if we want to see socially validated results.
The importance of dedicated parental nurturing for future human capital, and the value of women’s perspective and creative input in all aspects of our economy have been proven time and again. However, these two are considered as separate fields of action, which struggle to optimally co-exist. The structural and ideological limitations to women’s potential bring a great loss for all, present and future.
While some enlightened employers have made strides to help mothers return to work after maternity leave, and give fathers adequate paternity leave so that they understand the challenges (and joys!) associated with staying home, efforts to create more flexible work conditions and compatible child-care policies that would enable mothers to engage deeply in both work and family life, have fallen short. It is high time women start claiming their right to it all, and getting it!
Mastermom's call to action:
If you are employed, start pushing your employer to give you more flexibility, refuse to arrange meetings at late hours and to answer emails on evenings or weekends- and ask your colleagues to do the same.
If you are trying to re-enter the workforce after having kids, make some noise and demand flex-time.
If you are a dedicated care-giver supporting your partner’s career advancement, ask them to make some noise as well, for flexibility and a new ‘work etiquette’ that is respectful and accommodating to parents.
Now is the time to be creative, and challenge the system to accelerate change for ourselves and the next generation. We will never get what we don't ask for...