A New Report From the Kauffman Basis Addresses Motherhood and Entrepreneurship


Being a mother is a full time job alone. So how can we ensure that mothers are valued for their work? [Credit: William Fortunato/Pexels]

If there is one good thing about the pandemic, it is recognition from mothers for their unpaid work. But the question remains: will this recognition lead to action?

A recent report addresses this issue, along with questions about mothers starting their own business. According to research by the Kauffman Foundation, a Missouri-based nonprofit dedicated to entrepreneurship education, mothers who start their own business face as many barriers as employees when it comes to caring and care To combine household duties with paid work ”.

According to the report, which finds that one in four mothers is the sole provider of their household, “self-employed women report on average spending more time on childcare activities and less time on paid work than non-self-employed”. Men, but also to working women and men. “

Jessica Looze, co-author of the report, said that something has to give way.

“Mothers make important economic contributions to their families and the economy,” Looze wrote in an email. “We need to start taking steps mothers need to successfully combine paid work with care – access to paid vacation, affordable and quality childcare, and flexible schedules.”

During the pandemic, women were the hardest hit group economically. 4.2 million women left the labor force between February and April 2020, many of them because of their role as caregivers. Almost half have still not returned to work in the past month.

The drum beat for change was slow but steady. At the beginning of the year, Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, published a “Marshall Plan for Mothers” calling for a basic income for all mothers and new work family policies so that unemployed mothers can go back to work.

And employers across the country are recognizing the benefits of flexible working hours and policies. EGC Group, a Long Island, New York advertising agency dedicated to hiring women and mothers, conducts monthly surveys to measure work ethic and offers employees a full remote or hybrid option.

“Covid changed everything for us,” said Nicole Penn, president of the 70-employee agency that counts Canon, Edible Arrangements and Supercuts among its clients.

“Our working parents, and especially our mothers, our single mothers, know they have all the flexibility in the world,” she added. “And not just to work from home… us [also] encourage parents to block personal time on their calendars – they don’t have to sneak out – because this is our new life. “

Traditionally, employees are rewarded for more hours worked and promoted after years of experience. “I grew up in advertising and there was the mantra, ‘First at my desk, last to go,'” said Penn, who is also a mom. “And that was a measure of your productivity.”

However, both factors contribute to what the Kauffman Foundation report calls the “maternity pay penalty,” as mothers typically work fewer hours and take time off after having children or adopting them, leading to missed career opportunities.

Motherhood plays an important role in choosing a career. According to the message,

57% of surveyed mothers said they choose entrepreneurship as a means of independence and control over their lives.

“Some are looking for the autonomy and flexibility that entrepreneurship can provide,” said Looze. “Some have an idea or an innovation that they want to bring to market and scale.”

But while entrepreneurship gives mothers the freedom to choose hours and juggle

Responsibilities running a business requires time and attention, which becomes extremely difficult – especially when a pandemic leads to daycare and school closings.

Although work and family policies are traditionally not viewed as corporate policies, Looze says people should see the two as intertwined. Employers who enact policies like affordable daycare and shorter schedules can actually trick mothers into entrepreneurship out of necessity, not necessity.

“It is important that there is support that ensures that mothers who want to work can do so and that mothers who want to start their own business have the opportunity to do so, as well as the support they need along the way,” said Looze.

“Covid has made the many demands on mothers’ time and energy all the more visible, and it is clear that more support is needed for mothers and families in a broader sense.”

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