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FDM Group highlights ways to tackle motherhood penalty
Thu, 15th Feb 2024

The 'motherhood penalty' - a term referring to the consistent disadvantage encountered by working mothers, generally characterised by lower salaries and impaired career progression - is feeding into the spiralling gender pay disparity. This is an issue business and industry leaders are being urged to rectify. FDM Group, a worldwide tech and business consultancy, has now issued a series of recommendations to help resolve this systemic inequality.

Originating from deep-seated conscious and unconscious prejudices against working mothers, a lack of policies accommodating families, and career advancement interruptions, the motherhood penalty significantly contributes to the expanding gender pay gap and has to be addressed.

FDM Group's Chief Operating O,fficer Sheila Flavell CBE, stated, "Businesses must address the 'motherhood penalty' as soon as possible. This systemic bias hampers the career progression of numerous capable professionals and robs organisations of a diverse talent pool that is crucial for innovation." She further added that "By providing flexible hours, comprehensive maternity policies, and supportive work environments to working mothers, businesses can invest in a diverse, empathetic, and resilient workforce, which, in turn, fuels creativity and steers progress."

FDM Group argues that organisations can alleviate the motherhood penalty through the introduction of more inclusive employment policies. It advises organisations to implement comprehensive parental policies ensuring ample compensation for maternity and paternity leave while providing job security. Such strategies, it posits, can go a long way in easing an employee's stress during their leave and show an organisational commitment to recognising employee diversity.

Promoting flexible working arrangements that allow parents to balance their professional and caregiving responsibilities was another recommendation. Although not suitable for all businesses, it has potential benefits for companies that can adapt.

Mentorship programmes, especially targeted towards women and mothers, can offer guidance and support. These initiatives can prove pivotal to navigating career trajectories, particularly after childbirth or maternity leave.

Accessible and affordable childcare options, including the provision of on-site childcare facilities, might be another route for businesses to support working parents. Additionally, promoting pay transparency is necessary to eliminate gender-based wage disparities. The Group recommends routine assessment and revelation of wage data, advising an annual gender pay gap analysis.

Lastly, FDM Group suggests continuous anti-bias training for employees and management teams to recognise and counter unconscious biases related to motherhood. This can help build an understanding of the challenges faced by working parents and highlight the need for equal opportunities for career advancement.