I coach as an associate for the coaching company Talking Talent, which specialises in maternity coaching for working mothers. I enjoy the clients I have through the maternity groups, but am dismayed when the press talks about how such programmes may be cut in the face of an impending credit crisis. The time when companies are issuing redundancies is precisely the time when they need to be investing in supporting the people who stay. Motherhood is difficult enough, but being a working mother in a senior role is even tougher – and rare it seems.
Lynda Gratton, professor of management practice at London Business School, recently surveyed senior women in business – all team leaders earning more than £100,000 a year – and found that 52% were childless and most of the other 48% had only one child. By contrast, only 4% of senior men did not have children. It is a shame if women feel they need to choose between career success and a family, but we should support those women who do combine them. We otherwise run the risk of creating and reinforcing two career tracks – one for mothers and one for non-mothers, a choice that according to the survey above, men clearly don’t have to make. For more about the need for maternity coaching and what it means in this economic climate, click here.