Can women have it all? Katie Doyle founder and CEO of MENTOR HER has spoken to some mothers who have careers across a variety of industries. From the corporate world to start ups, from freelancers to bloggers and business owners. Each woman has her own unique story. Being a mother and having a career brings a sense of your unique self as a woman and a feeling of well-being that connects us to our heart and personal identity. This is a powerful and life changing effect that falls into others areas of your life. Women in Ireland have more rights today than their own mothers and of course our grandmothers, but there is still work to be done. Ireland has come on in leaps and bounds, but a significant amount of work still needs to be done to support all women in Ireland and across the world. Here's 5 thoughts about women in the workplace.
There's still work to be done in Society
According to the European Commission, gender equality legislation was first introduced in the 1970's after Ireland joined what was then called the 'European Economic Community'. Dominique McMullan is the Editorial Director of IMAGE media. Last year, Dominique gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Kai. As soon as Dominique returned to work from her maternity leave she was promoted to the position of Editorial Director of IMAGE media. Dominique speaks in such a passionate and understanding way, knowing the challenges that women are faced with when being a mother and having a career. She knows there's still work to be done for women in the workplace, advocating for more flexible work hours to support both parents after the birth of a child:
“Women come in all shapes and sizes and there are plenty of women that don’t want to be mothers, or can’t be mothers, and that has to be acknowledged. It’s challenging to be a mother and have a career. The problem is not the mothers though, the problem is the world we live in.” The pandemic has highlighted flexible working, the valuable work of carers and the quantity and importance of jobs around the home. She says that hopefully “life will be made easier for mothers in the future in the recognition that we can get as good a job done, but in a way that works for us. We need equality with fathers in every way. It’s not necessary to sit at a desk from 9 to 5 every day. Mothers work harder than anybody I bloody know. You get four hours of work done in one, because you are driven to get home to that child. We need workplaces to recognize ‘she’s a badass and she’s an amazing worker, she’s valuable and I don’t need to be seeing her everyday to know that.” She hopes that the Covid pandemic will be a positive change in workplace hours for everybody, including fathers: “Fathers are a really important part of the journey towards equality for mothers in the workplace. It’s heartbreaking knowing that Dads who want to spend more time with their kid, want to help more, can’t because they might be primary breadwinner. We need them along on the journey for equality. We can change the world; this is potentially a whole new way of life.”
Kids as the Heart of your Inspiration and Motivation
Founder of Mama Bears Foods, Loretta Kennedy got the inspiration for her business when she wanted to provide a sugar-free alternative for a ketchup for family dinners in the evening. Her whole business has been founded on her children, who were her first critics in trying and tasting her food. When she had the recipe perfected, Loretta went to market- beginning in food stalls and quickly making her way into large supermarket chains. In the beginning of her journey, people in the food industry considered her crazy for using glass bottles above plastic for their cost. But her children, already read up in the growing world of sustainability and understanding themselves the needs to not contribute to the plastic in landfills, encouraged her to stick with glass bottles. It wasn't long before the kids were proven right, with sustainability and eco-friendly products now the go to across all brands and industries around the world. By designing her products around her children, listening to their ideas and understanding their passions, Loretta has now built a successful brand with a growing line of products that have less sugar than their commercial competitors and still are a tasty treat that kids adore!
You become a role model
Children are so perceptive and when they see their mother managing to do everything, it’s a powerful influence in their lives. They see their mammy doing homework, cleaning and office- work along with lots of time to give the children. When they see their mothers confidence and dedication, it in turn inspires them to have a strong work ethic and inspires our children to do something incredible with their lives. It teaches children to be adaptable. If you are a working mother the idea of balancing everything is not a realistic situation. It’s impossible to the the best everything at all times 24/7. There needs to be boundaries in place to ensure that you are in a position to make choices that allow you two have a career and an amazing home life. This usually means compromising as it's not about quantity it's about quality time. Women who have careers are teaching their children valuable lessons about organisational skills, empathy, teamwork, adaptability and work ethics. This will no doubt impact children in a positive way.