Opinion

Allison Robinson: Could Working Moms Be the True Winners of the Election?

By Allison Robinson | September 15, 2016

The decision about how and when a mom goes back to work isn’t easy on a family. In fact, the complex balancing act that moms in the workforce take on is particularly evident at this time of year. Each new school year brings new challenges not only for our children — but also for moms.

As a society, we place real value on parental involvement and engagement with our children’s education.  But equally as clear, we haven’t yet fully thought through how the balance can work for working moms. We need to rethink how moms go back to work — allowing moms the ability to give their children the attention they need while at the same time earning income and doing meaningful work.

Moms with school-age kids have a lot to offer to companies and the American economy. So we must find a way to give moms the flexibility to work while managing all the homework, after-school activities and countless other parenting obligations.

The good news is — we’re finally starting the national conversation about achieving that objective.

In an election cycle marked by divisiveness, it seems that supporting working moms is one of the few issues that is transcending all of the outlandish rhetoric. Paid parental leave, reduction of childcare costs and equal pay for equal work were among the handful of topics that earned meaningful prime-time coverage at both the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

Hillary Clinton, a working mother herself, has made gender equality in the workplace a cornerstone of her campaign.

Donald Trump’s daughter (and influential campaign adviser) Ivanka, also a working mom, has argued that mothers who work face significant barriers with child care costs and accessibility — not to mention a higher wage penalty than women without children.

The country is finally taking notice of these issues because the concept of a working mother is no longer a rarity.

Now is the time to find creative means to support the intersection of work and life that affects all working mothers in our country.

To that end, earlier this year, I launched The Mom Project, a digital community that connects professional women with companies that have a need for project-based work. Drawing from my own experience, I came to the realization that a career trajectory and one’s personal priorities don’t always sync. I also realized that, like me, many women want to take control of their career destiny and find opportunities that are better aligned with what they’re looking to accomplish outside of work.

Since the launch of The Mom Project in April, thousands of talented professional women have joined our community. These women are mothers who are looking for challenging, rewarding projects that allow them to stay professionally relevant and financially independent, while also providing them the flexibility to focus on other priorities.

Just as important, American companies are responding. Through our work in only a short time, the businesses we’re working with are committed to tackling these challenges. The private sector is helping to lead the way when it comes to policies that make both common and economic sense.

There is still much work to be done.

In speaking to mothers (and fathers), I’ve heard about the issues still holding parents back in our country — issues that go far beyond the need for flexible work hours. These include the lack of paid family leave for 87 percent of U.S. workers and the prohibitive cost of child care.

Keeping working women at the forefront of the conversation through Election Day and far beyond will help solve some of these problems. We need to insist that our political leaders come together where we undisputedly have shared goals — to support working families. We need our leaders to propose, debate and enact legislation that helps make it easier for working parents to succeed.

When I started The Mom Project, I set out to help moms like me. But I have learned that together we can chip away and, mom by mom, company by company, together we change how we view work in this country. If the conversation during the 2016 race is any indication, policy makers on both sides of the aisle may finally be getting on board too.

Allison Robinson is the founder and chief executive officer of The Mom Project. She drives the company’s vision and strategy in redefining the path to professional success for women. After welcoming her first child in 2015, Allison recognized the tremendous opportunity to create a talent marketplace to bridge the gap between employers looking for top talent and the millions of educated and professionally accomplished mothers across the country looking for meaningful work.

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