Honest Mum

Michelle Obama once said: ‘Success is about the difference you make in people’s lives’. And, honestly, I’m not sure if this mantra applies to anyone more than WORK180 founder, Valeria.

Valeria Ignatieva’s career was the last thing on her mind when she discovered her son had a disability. ‘I was a single parent, and I had a great career,’ said Ignatieva. ‘All of a sudden, I had to look at more flexible working options for myself, and I was knocked back time and time again.’

This process was incredibly unproductive for both Ignatieva and the companies she was interviewing due to the obvious flaws in the hiring process. 

‘I’d be applying for jobs, and they would say things like: ‘You’re the ideal candidate, but unfortunately, we need someone nine to five.’ I became very, very discouraged … It wasn’t so much the time-wasting; it was more about the heartbreak at the end.’

In response to all of the roadblocks Valeria had stumbled upon when trying to find flexible work, she founded WORK180.

A variety of strong, inspirational, driven women from across the globe have utilised the WORK180 system and almost instantaneously its positive implications, bearing the fruit of a uniquely supportive and nurturing system. WORK180 is helping fight the inequalities of the workplace by making the search for flexible employment for parents, easy and stress-free. 

Valeria Ignatieva

Of the thousands of stories I’ve heard chronicling women who have benefitted from WORK180, none have resonated more than that of Trudi Masalki, a Senior Content and Communications Manager whose journey I relate to.

With the birth of her two sons Kane and Will, as well as a longer commute (due to having to relocate – I know the feeling!), Trudi’s career and family life were at odds… important, life-defining decisions needed to be made that were fair to both Trudi, as well as her family.

Trudi received an overwhelming response to her question on a Facebook forum for working women, asking about the possibility of flexible working. She received valuable tips including the suggestion of the WORK180 Job Platform for Women who support women in workplace in terms of flexible work, pay equity and parental leave.

Within months, Trudi found herself back at the top of her game, working in a senior role in her desired field part-time, twice a week, allowing her to bring in sustained revenue and pursue her passion while being able to spend time raising her children.

Trudi is just one of many who have been empowered to go back into the workplace thanks to WORK180.

Anuskha Dey, a tech-genius, hailing from Bangalore and living in Australia is another. Graduating from university with a firstclass honours with distinction and within years, working in a senior role for one of the world’s most prominent Telecom corporations, everything changed once she became a mother in 2018.

‘I knew I’d need flexible working arrangements. My husband and I would both be working full time and we live in Cranbourne, which is 50 kilometres from the CBD. I was aware of how hectic it would be and I didn’t want to be hostage to what each client I ended up with was prepared to offer. So I quit and started looking for a new job.’

However, Anushka came across WORK180, which led her to have a more positive outlook when thinking about her future as a working mum.

Thanks to the advice and support given to her by WORK180, Anuskha secured a job at the National Australia Bank.

When it comes to my own story, I set up this blog, Honestmum in November 2010 after suffering a traumatic birth in a bid to rediscover my voice and begin my recovery. I’ve always found writing not only a pleasure but also cathartic, helping me process the tough times while also sharing the joy of motherhood.

After 6 weeks of setting this site up, I was approached by an advertiser (I had no idea a blog could even be monetised back then, thinking pro blogging was solely the domain of US bloggers) but by the time my second son, Alexander, had come along in 2012, I’d found an accidental, flexible career online. A job that allowed me to work around my young family, making deadlines by night if necessary, and vitally allowing me to work in a way that meant I didn’t miss out on raising my sons.

Honest Mum and family

I had briefly returned to directing commercials when Oliver turned 1 (female directors are in the minority making up only 8% of the industry currently ) but I found being apart from my baby in an all-consuming job that didn’t acknowledge my role as a parent or allowed flexibility, heartbreaking for us both. Thankfully tech exploded with the advent of blogs and social media, providing me with another way to work. Honest Mum soon become both an economical and emotional lifeline to me.

Mumboss

Blogging and social media is not for everyone however, and mothers shouldn’t be forced out of their jobs.

Let’s firstly look at the discrimination faced in more detail.

It is startling how economically fragile mothers are. According to government research, by retirement, men are projected to have a 25% higher income than women and women lose 4 years of their career due to child-rearing and later, caring for elderly relatives.

Pregnant then Screwed who campaign against motherhood discrimination share these sobering stats on their website related to maternity discrimination.  54,000 women a year are pushed out of their jobs due to pregnancy or maternity leave (EHRC 2016)

  • 77% of working mums have encountered negative or discriminatory treatment at work (EHRC 2016)
  • 2.2 million people stay at home to look after children, 60% of whom are looking to get back to work (My Family Care Survey 2015)
  • 40% of employers say they would avoid hiring a woman of childbearing age (Slater and Gordon 2015)
  • 84% of generation Z and millennials seek flexibility when job hunting and the UK economy would be £165 million richer/more productive if all businesses got on board (government’s capital and wellbeing report 2017)
  • Nearly half of working mums think working flexibly has affected their ability to progress their career, although almost three quarters identify flexible work as crucial to getting more women into senior roles (workingmums.co.uk annual survey 2017)
  • 44% of working mums say they earn less than before they had children (Working mums research 2017)

The below relates to the creative industries

  • Women artists are given fewer solo shows and commercial galleries represent fewer women than men (Fawcett Society 2013)
  • Women overwhelmingly make up the majority of the workforce in museums and galleries – 70% according to academic research by Professor Kate Oakley and Dr David O’Brien
  • According to research reported in The Guardian in September 2015, within galleries getting annual funding of £1m+ from Arts Council England, just 37% of director or chief executive roles are held by women
  • A recent report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission shockingly reported that the arts, culture and leisure sector had the highest incidences of dismissal due to pregnancy – 7% of employers interviewed who work in this sector had dismissed an employee that was pregnant or on maternity leave, compared to the sector average of 1%
  • The proportion of mothers working in the arts, culture and leisure sector, who felt they had to leave due to poor treatment when pregnant was 15%, making the arts the 3rd worst offender by sector.

WORK180 operates at the forefront of a new workplace revolution we’re experiencing and is proving to be an invaluable tool for parents. 

As an advocate for working women, they provide job applicants with a transparent directory of endorsed employers who support diversity, inclusion and equality. They share information around pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and a range of other important criteria. Before an employer comes on board, they put them through a pre-screening process and on average, about 80% of companies who apply to work with us, pass their criteria.

Within the criteria process, they also consider initiatives that focus on age, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation. The information they uncover isn’t available anywhere else, but make it public on their website so that candidates know exactly what to expect before applying for a job.

They also work with employers to improve and develop workforce participation. The majority of the companies who don’t initially pass the criteria, return to them after improving.

They share best practice, offer strategic advice and provide a highly active jobs board where businesses can connect with the talented people in their network.

They are an invaluable resource to both the employer and employee.

Do check out the site. We all deserve to work flexibly in a way that allows us to enjoy both spheres of our lives: work and home.

kids playing

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11 Responses

  1. Uju

    Unbelievable stats. Such an important post. Flexible work is sometimes made to sound like a catchy slogan, but it’s so essential for women and parents, as well as many others with a variety of needs. Thanks for sharing this vital website, a luta continua!

    Reply
  2. your DIY family

    Gosh – those stats are quite shocking. Such an important issue to highlight. We are in the 21st century and it’s quite unbelievable how women are still ‘punished’ for having a family. Love the sound of WORK180 – such a great initiative. x

    Reply
  3. Niki

    Oh my goodness. There are some shocking statistics here vicky. It’s so challenging for mothers to reconnect with the work environment, so many pressures to get back to work. Having a site like this is a wonderful idea.

    Reply
  4. Amancay

    Thanks for sharing the work they do, certainly important in this day and age where so much needs to be done still when it comes to working mums, particularly those who are single . I had a very stable job and decent salary but when I returned from maternity leave , I had to give it all up after 8 months. The hours are incompatible with nursery opening times and the costs of childcare were extortionate . More needs to be done so women don’t give up their jobs when they most need them. I have to go back to the job market after being freelance and it’s scary .

    Reply
  5. Angela Milnes

    This is so interesting but not surprising to me. Sadly I grew up with the mind frame/social influence/narrative that I would become a mother and my husband would work. I did not want this and during my training to become a lawyer, I switched career paths to early years teaching partly because I felt it was more suited to work as a mother….. I’m sad I felt I had to do that because I would have made a great lawyer. I thought, I’d be able to take my kids to work with me if I worked in a private preschool setting. As things turned out…. I developed adrenal failure and chronic illness and now have to work from home….so I’m using the skills I gained at Uni and as a teacher to be the best dam blogger I can be and I love it…. Just a shame that women struggle to get hired and that the stats continue to be against women in today’s world!

    Reply
  6. Ekaterina

    Will definitely be looking into this company. My work were great when I was pregnant and were very fair with mat leave but it was obvious that going back part time was not an option. Great post as always!

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks Ekaterina and sorry your previous employers weren’t open to part time/ flexible work. Do look at WORK180 who are doing vital work to help women and mothers find employment which works for them.

      Reply
  7. Maggy, redtedart

    Oh this is such an important topic to highlight and write about. It really is frightening how “career limiting” having a family is, when it really isn’t necessary. These kind of initiatives are amazing and much needed!
    Maggy, redtedart recently posted…Toilet Paper Roll Ice CastleMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Such a vital platform to help women and mothers Maggy. I hate how mums are given such a short straw in the workplace. Companies are changing their culture towards working mums and this site helps match women/mums to employers who can meet their needs.

      Reply

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