The journey of a mother in the workplace is multifaceted, encompassing a spectrum of experiences that intersect with professional responsibilities. From maternity leave and childcare arrangements to career progression and work-life balance, mothers navigate a complex terrain where systemic biases and societal expectations can exacerbate existing disparities. According to the Annual State of Motherhood study, the report reveals that working mothers are experiencing higher levels of anxiety and depression compared to working fathers, with 66% of working mothers reporting negative mental health impacts as a result of the pandemic. Recognizing and addressing these challenges is not just a matter of fairness; it’s a strategic imperative for businesses committed to cultivating a diverse and resilient workforce. 

Barriers Moms Face in The Workplace

One of the most significant barriers faced by working mothers is the absence of comprehensive support systems tailored to their needs. The transition to parenthood, particularly for first-time mothers, often involves significant adjustments, both personally and professionally. Offering extended parental leave, flexible work arrangements, and on-site childcare facilities can mitigate the stressors associated with returning to work while ensuring continuity in career development. In fact, that same Annual State of Motherhood Study reported that 72% of moms feel that the cost of childcare is a significant financial burden, which simply confirms that the lack of affordable childcare is perhaps the most monumental barrier preventing mothers from fully participating in the workforce. Deloitte’s research shows that two-thirds of women in highly flexible work arrangements plan to stay with their employer for more than three years, compared to only 19% of women with no flexibility. This not only facilitates greater flexibility for working parents but also promotes a culture of trust and autonomy that transcends traditional notions of productivity and presence.

Challenging Traditional Norms & Gender Roles

Moreover, fostering a culture of inclusivity entails challenging traditional norms and stereotypes that perpetuate outdated notions of gender roles. For instance, Inclusion Hub shared that if you hold a view—conscious or subconscious—that men are better leaders or more fit for management roles than women, then you’re going to consistently make professional decisions that reinforce sexual discrimination. This accumulates over time across thousands of social interactions. This bias helps explain, at least in part, why only 10% of Fortune 500 companies are run by women, according to a 2023 report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the largest HR professional association in the world. By promoting shared caregiving responsibilities and dispelling the myth of the “ideal worker” archetype, companies can create an environment where both men and women feel empowered to pursue fulfilling careers without compromising their familial obligations.

Mentorship and Sponsorship Programs for Moms in the Workplace

Mentorship and sponsorship programs play a pivotal role in championing the advancement of working mothers within the workplace. The State of Mothers in the Workforce found that 50% of moms say advancing in their career is harder because they are a parent. Mentorship and sponsorship programs open doors to valuable networking opportunities. Through these connections, working mothers can expand their professional circles, access new career prospects, and gain visibility within their industries. Such networking opportunities are especially crucial for women who may have taken breaks from their careers to prioritize family responsibilities and are now seeking to re-enter or advance within the workforce.Pairing them with seasoned professionals who can offer guidance, advocacy, and networking opportunities not only accelerates their professional growth but also instills a sense of belonging and validation in their contributions. 


Ultimately, the importance of inclusion with mothers in the workplace extends far beyond mere rhetoric; it is a moral imperative and a strategic imperative. By embracing diversity in all its forms and creating environments where every individual can thrive, businesses not only fulfill their ethical obligations but also unlock the full potential of their workforce. In doing so, they pave the way for a more equitable and prosperous future for generations to come.