While on maternity leave with her first child, former Procter & Gamble employee Allison Robinson pondered on the 43% of highly-skilled women who’d leave the workforce. “I started to imagine a future where women would not have to choose between parenthood and their careers”, she wrote. “I could not stop thinking about what a real solution might look like.”
“Women staying engaged in the workforce on their terms is good for all of us.”
Inspired by both her own journey becoming a first-time mother, and on behalf of mothers everywhere, she founded The Mom Project in 2016. Since then, the US-based company has excelled at serving both mothers looking for opportunities to thrive and companies looking to diversify, and retain talented employees. “Women staying engaged in the workforce on their terms is good for families. It’s good for business. It’s good for all of us”, Robinson wrote.
A worker and gender gap
According to a study conducted by the European Commission, increasing women’s participation in the labour force and raising their employment rate is paramount in the upcoming, global worker gap. Whenever a child is born, women are suddenly less attractive to prospective employers. While 89.1% of fathers with young children (less than six years old) were employed Europe, that percentage drops down to 62.7% for mothers. Meanwhile, 38.9% of mothers work part-time compared to 5.8% of fathers, the study showed.
Eurostat statistics showed that female unemployment increased by 20.4%, against 16.3% for men.
Then came the COVID-19 pandemic — and the subsequent, initial job crisis. While in previous crises, jobs held by both men and women were both hit hard. The pandemic shed a new light on the gender gap. Between March 2020 and February 2021, the total number of unemployed in the EU rose by around 2.4 million, of whom more than 1.3 million were women. Eurostat statistics showed that female unemployment increased by 20.4%, against 16.3% for men.
Suffering from a lack of flexibility
In lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic, many realities turned virtual. As the world took to virtual meetings and work done solely remotely, it opened the door for a part of the workforce that wasn’t able to take part before. You guessed it: mothers. The very problem cited by the European Commission as the common denominator in a lack of women at work — flexible working arrangements — was, just for a while, no longer a real problem.
When offices re-opened, and workers were asked to come back to the office, the flexibility problem re-entered.
Workforces operated remotely, allowing those who couldn’t leave their home for a variety of reasons — often the care of elders or children — to work. But when offices re-opened, and workers were asked to come back to the office either in a hybrid or full-time capacity, the flexibility problem re-entered. Moreover, organisations around the world struggle to formulate actionable DEI strategies as is.
A grand slam advisor
Since giving birth to her first child in 2017, all-time tennis great Serena Williams has been a vocal advocate for issues facing women and mothers. It prompted her to join forces with The Mom Project in 2020, serving the company as a strategic advisor. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a team of one or 100,000,” Williams said in a press release. “If you’re hiring, are you considering hiring moms?”.
In 2020, Serena Williams joined forces with The Mom Project, serving the company as a strategic advisor.
One of the companies taking the initiative is consulting company Accenture. In an attempt to become gender equal by 2025, Accenture partnered up with The Mom Project to hire a total of 150 mothers for positions in technology, strategy and consulting. The company said the roles will offer the new hires flexibility, support, training and mentorship.
‘The largest investment ever in female workforce technology’
In 2021, The Mom Project officially became part of the largest global investment ever in female workforce technology. As the platform continued to grow its talent community as well as its business partners — it announced it has raised a further $80 million in its Series C funding round.
“We’ve seen 20 times growth over the last three years and are eager to leverage this momentum”, CEO Allison Robinson said. “The trust and equity we’ve earned with moms and our customers and partners to continue building and expanding the reach of category-defining solutions that reshape how work evolves to meet the needs of modern families.”