More women on boards: We need to value pregnancy and motherhood

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Buckingham OBE and Senior Advisor on Diversity for the Institute of Directors.

We discussed my insights and knowledge regarding the issues around pregnancy in the workplace, return-ships and the overall impact the pregnancy journey and new motherhood has on the pipeline of female talent, some of which Lisa included in her Autumn article in the IoD Big Picture.

Returnships: how the UK can lead the way in returning execs

Buckingham is well known for her work in improving the standing of women in business and for encouraging companies to build their pipelines of senior executive women in order to meet government targets that 25 per cent of board posts should be female by 2015.

At a seminar held recently by CityMothers ‘Accelerating progress: 22% and up’, and run by the 30% Club; two of 30% Club’s Steering Committee members, Baroness Mary Goudie, Labour Peer, and Katushka Giltsoff, The Miles Partnership delivered the current progress and results.

On the face of it, it looks to be very positive – currently 22.8% up from 12.6% – but is this number enough to make a real difference to the balance of power and are these women in positions where they can make a real difference and are truly valued and listened to by those around them and respected by their colleagues above and below?

I am interested to know how many of these women are mothers and how supported they felt during this time of transition and as their career progressed? Did it add to their desire to succeed a higher level? Did they have to work harder as a mother to get to their current position than their male counterparts who are fathers? Did it have no bearing whatsoever?

Not all women have the desire or aptitude to be on the board of their company or reach the C-suite – neither do all men. But I speak to a great many who do. Or who certainly want to have their career maintain an upward trajectory after they have children and be able to realise their potential, have their voices heard and their insights and experience recognised.

Including that of being a mother.

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