The COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone across the world, but its impact was not equal.
Mothers bore the brunt of childcare during the pandemic – they were tasked with doing the majority of home schooling, and many had to balance this with paid work.
45% of the 10,000 American women surveyed by wellbeing brand Motherly were primary caregivers, and just 4% had a partner who either shared caregiving responsibility 50/50 or were the primary caregiver.
62% told Motherly they devoted five or more hours to child and household duties in their personal time outside of work.
Therefore, it is no surprise that 93% of mothers are burnout – 38% reported being completely burnout.
The report states: “Having a child…should not negatively impact your work—and yet, in the age of COVID-19 when children moved to virtual schooling overnight and mothers overwhelmingly took on the burden of childcare and household duties while navigating their own professional ambitions, it often did.”
Supporting working mothers
The pressures of juggling work with ever-increasing childcare responsibilities is pushing women out of the workforce – twice as many women than men left the workforce in 2021
Also, Motherly found that 45% of mothers who are currently unemployed left the world of work due to childcare issues.
This is a major issue not just because it impacts the financial situation of working families – 47% of the women surveyed by Motherly contribute more than half of their household income – but it starts to undo the progress around driving diversity and more equitable workplaces.
Motherly’s report concludes: “We know that when mothers thrive, families and communities thrive.”
The need for better childcare is the main factor encouraging women to look for new jobs. But 48% of mothers are also concerned about the lack of flexible working and paid time off.
53% told Motherly they want their employer to help them out with childcare (59% are currently dissatisfied with current employer provisions, and 33% say childcare is a major financial strain).
Beyond help with childcare, employers need to generally support working mothers with balancing their working and personal lives (30%). 17% said juggling both being a mother and a paid job was impossible, and 34% are frustrated by their situations. Linked to this, 73% felt they were unable to fulfill their family obligations.
Having diverse, inclusive workplaces are good for business (plus the ‘Great Resignation‘ is real) so it is high time that employer help workers balance their working lives and personal lives.
This applies particularly to mothers, but also to fathers, and all other employees who may be grappling with all sorts of personal challenges.
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