brooke

We’ve all heard statements that include something along the lines of “we do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law”. However, there’s one very important noun missing: Motherhood.

A survey from the law firm Slater & Gordon found that 40 percent of managers are afraid of hiring a woman of childbearing age. They worry about paying for maternity leave, absences due to problems with children, and lowered work performance. These concerns are valid, but deep-seated prejudice and stereotypes have blown them out of proportion. In reality, society and individual employers have everything to gain from working mothers.

In the business world, it’s favorable to be progressive. Though there may be an adjustment period, most innovative companies who change first will reap recognition and revenue in the long run. Our businesses should think the same way when it comes to incorporating mothers into their ranks. To believe otherwise is archaic.

With the upsurge of social change in general, women are emerging evermore educated, confident and varied in their aptitudes. This extends to all types, not just the childless. Mothers were indeed among the first to have social and political influence in American history (Consider Sacagawea, an indispensable aide in Western exploration. There’s also Mercy Otis Warren, a leading propagandist during the American Revolution. Yet a third is Sojourner Truth, a renowned abolitionist).

Mothers specifically learn some solid skills in the home. With the little loves of their lives watching, they fulfill their sense of duty to become better versions of themselves: role models. Reasoning with children improves their ability to speak clearly and concisely. Through juggling a kid or three and the rest of life’s demands, they’re apparent aficionados at multitasking. I needn’t expound on the patience cultivated through potty training adventures, temper tantrums and other joyous occurrences.

In general, there are two reasons why mothers seek out employment. The first being they want to. Employees who love their jobs are known to be superior at them. For women to have loved ones at home, but also have drives strong enough to have extra household ambitions speaks volumes to what they will do.

Another fact is that some mothers need to work. This is the same for all types of people. It’s an honorable thing to go through tough times and insist on working strenuously to support yourself and the little humans that depend on you. Whether she’s a single mom or married in a struggling household, most of the time mama bear will fight to protect her cubs. To deny her the right to earn for her household is to push her towards relying on welfare and/or being hungry. This leads to intergenerational poverty. If a mom can’t work, especially when single, she won’t have the resources to give her children a stellar upbringing. This negatively affects the future generations and puts a strain on society.

In the long run, the discrepancy in the amount of days that average men and women take off is minimal. The benefits of an exceptional employee will greatly outweigh the cons of her time off. Additionally, as movements for equality grow, gender roles are neutralizing. I’ve heard of numerous stay-at-home dads. Naturally, the number of dads that simply take off for child-related issues is also increasing. Concerns about work performance and availability can be put to rest.

I’m not saying mothers should automatically win the position over their childless and male counterparts. I’m simply encouraging employers to consider their potential during the selection process, rather than groaning and writing them off. I implore you to do your civic duty by looking past gender and motherhood stereotypes and allowing moms to be empowered by supporting their efforts to gain the desk or conference room position. Society will benefit in the long run.

Brooke Tipton is a sophomore sociology major at Lander University. She is interested improving the lives of others and hopes to work with humanitarian and non-profit organizations in the future. Tipton’s column is part of Lander University’s “Achieving the Promise” project which is generously funded by SC Humanities whose mission is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians.