Did this title anger you? It should, but even if it did what are you going to do about it? Nothing probably. I work in a sector that is 90%+ women and I haven’t done much. 2015 is the year I’m going to change that. What’s frustrating and fascinating is that even with women in positions of authority in the social sector, mothers are treated as a badly as they are in the rest of the working world. Like criminals who steal time and resources from the company. I personally know dozens of women fired on maternity leave. Even more who have quit jobs or not returned to work because employers treat mothers like recently patrolled inmates – child care treated like a substance abuse problem shamefully to be dealt with privately and not to interfere with work. Reflecting on just two recent reads where people consider it fine to criticize a working mom and about an employer telling a person to “give up her child”. What?! In the past I have reached out and helped peers in these times of challenge but more needs to be done and I struggled with how. Networking is my thing, like the little drummer boy it’s the one gift I can give to my network and I’ve learned that when it comes to bigger ideas, only fools try to tackle them alone. So I’m building a private network for mothers made up of anyone in my network who wants to join, all are welcome. And I’m certainly not the ‘male authority’ running the show but more the servant of this network here to keep things moving and make connections happen. Let me make it clear why am I doing this:
- This is personal. I’m trying to save my own soul and shut up my own complains of “who’s going to do something about this?!”. Not those dolts in HR, not the ‘leaders’ who yap on about it. I’m shutting up and putting some personal skin in the game.
- I have a mother, a sister, even my own wife has been ill treated in this way. In my wife’s case it brings me to madness that because I “love her” that I’m incapable of objectively recommending her professionally. While it’s true, I do “love her”, the decision to create an unbreakable life-long union was because of my respect and admiration for her work ethic, personal values and career ambition. Marriage was the ultimate professional endorsement! But I digress.
- In recognition that women built my personal career. I have had WAY more female mentors, sponsors, teachers than men in my career. Especially when I started a family, professional women in my life helped me immensely. It’s payback time ladies.
A big thanks to the team at CBC Metromorning Toronto for their #2forTO initiative that helped me decide 2015 was the year to do this and I was allowed to ‘start small but just start’. And to Leah Eichler and the Globe and Mail Careers crew whose work has been so helpful to the younger women I serve, coach and support. So, dear network I’m asking anyone interested to join my private group. And if you’re not in my neck of the woods feel free to create your own. The goals are:
- Connecting mothers returning to the working world with peers to help them with job searches and preparing for them
- To keep in touch with mothers in the year of maternity leave for the purpose of keeping in touch with their industry
- To support mothers in those critical first five years of their child’s life when they are working and balancing child care
We’re going to host some events, do LinkedIn workshops and I’ll be fostering a lot of private meetings. Who knows how much good we’ll do but by God, we’ll do some good. After all, we value our peers. Heck were losing the brains, ideas and networks of half the population here. Are you with me? (Said in a very Jerry McGuire type voice). Send me an email, LinkedIn message, tweet that says. “Paul, I’m in”. Join the #MomNetwork Paul *I am not a feminist, I don’t know if this is politically correct or not. I hope it doesn’t come off as paternalistic, patronizing or condescending in any way. I’m a humanist in service of great people I know. I didn’t know what else to do so I said “shut up Paul and do something’’. Hope that makes sense.