Mothers and work, we (still) need to invest in awareness

Being a parent is a unique training ground for developing relational, organisational and innovation skills that are increasingly in demand in companies. In particular, motherhood is an extraordinary experience capable of activating the natural skills of mothers, which can also be harnessed to their full potential at work.

Unfortunately in 2022 there is still a lot of work to be done in this direction, as illustrated by the recent words of Elisabetta Franchi. During a conference, the fashion designer stated that she only hires women “of a certain age” in her company because “when you put a woman in a very important position, you cannot afford not to see her coming in for two years because that position is left uncovered” due to motherhood. “I as an entrepreneur in charge of my company I have often gone for men”.

And she added, with regard to the so-called “women of a certain age” (i.e. over 40), that “if they were going to have children or get married, they would have already done it, so I take the ones who have done everything they have to, they are by my side and work 24 hours a day, which is important”. These words stirred up great controversy, not least because they were uttered by a female top manager and a mother on Mother’s Day 2022.

That is why today it is more important than ever to make our voices heard loud and clear: for Lifeed, motherhood is a unique opportunity for both individuals and companies to train skills that are transferable from private life to work, to discover new talents and improve individual and organisational well-being. It is scientifically proven that valuing motherhood at work makes mothers feel better and, as a result, produces major measurable benefits for companies.

An example? Data from the Lifeed Work-Life Observatory show that in 2021 it was mostly mothers who said they found themselves stronger than they thought they were (82%) and that they saw an improvement in their leadership skills through their caring roles (74%).

Caring trains new leadership

Therefore we are publishing an excerpt below from a recent article by Riccarda Zezza, CEO of Lifeed on the AlleyOop blog of Il Sole 24Ore on the subject of motherhood and work: “Motherhood is not an obstacle, it is actually a Master’s qualification. On the contrary, experiences such as the birth of a child and caring for one’s parents actually bring about a radically different model of leadership, one that draws on the instinct of the human species towards life and knowing how to take care of one another”.

“If we are still here, on Mother’s Day 2022, counting the resignations of working mothers, being outraged and commenting on stories of women being demoted, bullied and fired, wondering where the guilt of a working mother is (in space) or celebrating the cases where a pregnant woman is hired or even promoted as exceptional … then something is wrong”.

“We need to invest in awareness and knowledge, so that we can stop looking for new adjectives to give meaning to words that have lost their capacity to describe reality. We must question everything invisible and make it visible by referring to things by their real name and making ourselves aware that we can choose”.

“Finally, it is time to accept that diversity, like leadership, does not require us to work to make new recruits conform or to assign them the right ‘diverse’ attributes, but instead to work to transform those who were already there. Now that would be a good way to celebrate mothers in Italy in 2022”.

Photo: Ansa