Column by Loreto Salvatierra
The balance that the a working mother handles

loreto salvatierra2The participation of women in the workplace has increased, this being an indication that as a country we are moving forward in the areas of gender equality. However, the incorporation of women who are pregnant or are mothers has been slower. This situation is gradually changing, as with the international trend – which is also being installed in our country, it neither limits nor restricts the participation of women who are pregnant or are mothers, but it provides multiple alternatives to encourage reconciliation between work and family, thus favoring their entry or reentry to the workplace.

Underlying this shift in focus, on the one hand is the valorization of motherhood, the contribution of women in the labor market and the increased male involvement in parenting. Moreover, there is the need to increase the fertility rates to prevent a decline in the population and evidence indicates that those companies which promote equality between men and women and create work-family balance, are more productive.

Amongst the actions taken by companies to support women and parents, the most prominent and valued, are: flexible working hours, working for goals, permission for running personal errands and taking care of the children, and to be able to work remotely aided by the use of technology. Added to this gradual return to work, once the maternity leave has ended, are bonuses to cover monthly school costs, recreational activities with the families and others. In addition to these measures, companies are increasingly basing hiring decisions on internal promotion or workforce skills, which has allowed leveled access opportunities for positions between men and women, regardless of whether or not they are mothers, their marital status or their age.

It is essential that one carries out an exercise to reflect on her requirements and expectations for her personal, family and professional development, in order to define what one wants in each of these areas; with what resources one has (time, support networks, savings, training , experience, etc.), and to evaluate her options and thus guide her search for work (e.g., what type of work one can or wants to take: full time, part time, freelance, telecommuting; is one willing to negotiate the type of position or income in exchange for other benefits such as flexible hours, the distance between work and home or other benefit offered to her by the company?)

Moreover, it is important that on a permanent basis – that one considers the choice to be mothers or not or that one concerns herself with developing her employability, to seek instances that enable her to keep up to date, which increases her chances of finding work.

Motherhood is also a process where one can develop and put into practice numerous skills that can be valuable for certain positions in which planning skills, problem solving, flexibility, leadership, and others are required. Therefore, it is recommendable that one works on the identification and pursuit of these skills, as well as finding jobs that allow one to deploy them.

In any of these scenarios, it is likely that women who are mothers are evaluated and made to feel the need to prove that they can perform at their best in all areas. Managing this pressure, learning to delegate tasks to others as well as planning properly and prioritizing time to be efficient, are some guidelines that can be incorporated to keep performing as a level of quality of life that proves positive.

If all the social partners move forward in this direction we can develop individuals, build families, make companies grow and at the end of the day, build more equitable, respectful and happy societies.

Loreto Salvatierra
Director Quality & Heart / SommerGroup®