Mothers have proven their power

For the past five years, community lifestyle brand Motherly has conducted the largest statistically significant survey of American mothers. Motherly Co-Founder and CEO Jill Koziol explains how the annual State of Motherhood Study not only validates assumptions about working motherhood, but also provides today’s mothers with data to advocate for change :

“This data is a reckoning for employers to internalize and recognize that it is no longer pleasant to have to support working mothers, but rather a business imperative – working mothers are essential to the economic future and to our country’s competitiveness.

Working mothers: the most educated cohort in today’s labor force

The pandemic has, without a doubt, played a leading role in the evolution of statistics from 2018 to today. Four years ago when I reported the results, 58% of working mothers still planned to have more children. This year (and for the first time), that percentage has dropped by 16 percentage points to just 42% of millennial and gen Z moms intending to have another child.

“Companies have invested in training and educating their female workforce only to find that when they become mothers, a leaking talent pool begins. This led to an unconscious bias against women, and especially mothers, which had huge economic implications,” says Koziol.

Koziol adds that in the past, companies got by without addressing this leaking pool of female talent, as there was a large educated male workforce to make up the delta.

“Women have superimposed roles – overlapping household, parental and professional responsibilities with little additional support from society, business or government. However, millennials are the first generation in history where women are more educated than men. Therefore, businesses and our economy must figure out how to keep educated women in the workforce once they become mothers. Equally important, they must invest in the reintegration and reintegration of mothers when they return to work.

Without solving the problems, the great resignation will continue

In 2018, 56% of mothers under 30 changed their professional status after becoming parents. Today, because the pandemic has pushed employers to offer more work options like working from home and flexible hours, only 18% of mothers need more work flexibility.

As fewer Gen Z and Millennial mothers plan to expand their families, more mothers are the primary breadwinner. For example, 47% of mothers surveyed this year contribute more than half of household income. In 2018, 37% of mothers contributed half or more to their household income.

Unfortunately, despite being the primary breadwinners in their families, mothers continue to bear the physical and mental burden of motherhood disproportionately more than their partners. Without addressing issues such as the maternity penalty, affordable childcare, parental leave, and creating flexible work options for working mothers to integrate work and childcare responsibilities, The Great Resignation will continue.

An increase in the number of activist mothers

Since 2018, mothers in the United States have lived through midterm elections, a government shutdown, a global pandemic, protests against racial injustice, the 2020 presidential election, and an attack on the US Capitol.

Presumably, by explaining these unfathomable events to their children, they became more curious about legislation, social issues, and politics. (Similarly, many of the mothers who participated in the State of Motherhood Study are Generation Alpha parents, a group in which nearly one in five members have participated in a march or demonstration on an issue that concerns them.)

As a result, compared to five years ago, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of mothers interested in legislation and policies aimed at improving the lives of families. For example, in 2018, 49% of Millennial and Gen Z moms surveyed felt that better paid time off policies would help them feel supported. In 2022, 77% of moms feel this.

“While we have yet to see real legislative change at the national level, Motherly’s annual State of Motherhood Study gives mothers a voice at scale in a statistically significant way. Plus, it empowers them , as well as their allies, to advocate for change within their families, their employers, and their votes in political elections,” Koziol notes.

For more detailed results, read the study here.

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