by Romy Newman
Originally published: April 2017
In her recent book Work. Pause. Thrive., journalist Lisen Stromberg documents extensively how women struggle in the workplace after having children, due to what she describes as a Motherhood Bias. Motherhood Bias causes women to be underestimated, underpromoted and underpaid after having children because of assumptions about their dedication to -- or availability for -- the responsibilities of their jobs.
According to Stromberg, although it is rarely discussed, Motherhood Bias is a clear culprit as to why women drop out of the workplace in droves during childbearing years -- particularly from high-performance career tracks. And those who remain at work feel the need to conceal their family responsibilities -- as if any mention of them will leave them penalized.
Management consulting firm Accenture is working to combat this Motherhood Bias in its daily practices. At Accenture, female leaders abound (the company just announced a new goal -- 25 percent women managing directors by 2020), and leaders are not afraid to talk about how they are business leaders and mothers all at the same time. Instead of sidelining women who become mothers or asking them to conceal their "motherhood" status, Accenture embraces working mothers as high-performing employees and also as parents.