The impact of the pandemic has been disproportionate for diverse groups of people. Women have been at the vulnerable end of the spectrum as they face the dual challenge of losing their jobs as well as managing more responsibilities at home. The pandemic has brought gender equityOpens a new window issues to the forefront.
As per data from the Department of Labor, 60% of the 700,000 jobsOpens a new window that were eliminated in March were women’s. This seems ironic considering the effort that most organizations have to make to attain gender diversity.
In this financial and emotional stress, the announcement of the Series B funding for The Mom Project comes as welcome news. The Mom Project has been focused on sensitizing and enabling businesses to understand the economic impact of attracting and retaining female talent. The Series B funding value is $25 million and is led by the growth investment firm 7GC. With this amount, the total funding raised by The Mom Project since its inception has reached $36 million.
The Mom Project intends to use the funding to enhance enterprise product offerings, find and establish ways to support mothers in their job search and careers, and build stronger channel partnerships. This will strengthen the Mom Project’s focus in areas it has already been working in, as companies become more open toward remote and flexible working.
Inclusion of women, and particularly mothers, has been a gap area globally. It tends to be a result of unconscious bias in the recruitment stage itself, where women with children usually have a lower chance of getting hiredOpens a new window .
This indicates the need for more reliable, focused, and long-term measures that can create a strong pipeline of female talent for organizations to attract and retain. With that in mind, there have been other measuresOpens a new window that The Mom Project had initiated a few months ago to support working mothers.
How Can Organizations Support Women in the Workplace?
There are some future-focused steps that organizations must invest in during this current situation.
1. This is a good time for organizations to invest in remote working tools
Remote work toolsOpens a new window can support working mothers as well as anyone else who needs to work remotely. Working mothers form a large part of the employable pool, and if organizations miss out on hiring from that pool, it can lead to massive talent crunch for organizations. The market has several tools for organizations to evaluate and adopt based on their needs.
2. Hire in an unbiased manner
The hiring approachOpens a new window has to become data-driven and process-oriented to make it unbiased. This will ensure that unintentional bias is also excluded at the recruitment stage itself, and working mothers are hired for their skills and role fitment. Technology has played a vital role in creating a fairer approach during the hiring of employees. It removes identifiers that can typically be triggers for bias and shifts the focus to the individual’s capabilities.
3. Revisit short-term strategies like layoffs
Layoffs are part of the business world. However, in most situations, they are short-term and aimed at cost optimization. Revisiting such strategies to identify if options like remote working, role changes, and reskilling are possible is essential. There is research that shows how working mothers are more efficient while working remotelyOpens a new window . If employee productivity and business requirements are not being compromised, these are better for organizations to initiate. Tools that can allow employees to reskill themselves and become ready for the new areas of business will have a more significant impact on overall retention.
As The Mom Project plans on expanding its area of work, it is likely that the understanding related to working mothers and the business need for having them in the organization will become more apparent. Currently, many organizations view this from a social impact lens. With a more substantial part of the workforce experiencing the challenges of work-life integration during the pandemic, it could be the beginning of a more inclusive corporate world for working mothers.