A Mother’s Day Resolution: Creating a Better Workplace for Mothers

The azure waters and vibrant culture of the Maldives mirror the growing aspirations of its female workforce. However, for many Maldivian mothers, balancing a fulfilling career with the joys and responsibilities of motherhood presents a unique challenge. This Mother’s Day, Corporate Maldives spoke to working mothers across various industries to find insight on actionable steps companies can take to create a more supportive and empowering workplace for these invaluable employees. 

“Life as a working woman was very different from life as a working mother,’ says 50-year-old Aminath, who was a primary school teacher in the 90s. “It was much harder.” Such statements reflect how enhancing parental leave policies is fundamental to empowering working mothers. 

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Extending paid time off for mothers beyond the current mandated 60-day period allows for essential bonding with newborns and promotes a more equitable division of caregiving responsibilities. According to 35-year-old Administrative Officer Maha, her maternity leave felt too short and didn’t give her much quality time with her child. “I felt like I had no choice but to prioritise my career,” she said. Providing foundational support for parents like Maha would not only benefit the family unit but also enhance employee well-being and loyalty to the company. 

In addition to parental leave, embracing flexible work arrangements is paramount. “I barely had time to feed my baby,” said Aminath “I had only one hour, and considering the commute, I did not have enough time.”

Offering options like remote work, flexible hours, and job-sharing empowers mothers to manage their schedules effectively, reducing stress and increasing productivity. When mothers have the autonomy to balance their work and family life, they are more likely to thrive in both spheres.

Investing in affordable, accessible childcare is another crucial step, said Maha. “Many times, I struggled to find a babysitter. I couldn’t even find a daycare service in my area.” 

As such, on-site or subsidised childcare facilities can alleviate a major burden for working mothers, ensuring their children receive quality care while they focus on their professional roles. Such initiatives not only benefit employees but also contribute to a positive workplace culture and increased retention rates. 

Creating a truly supportive workplace goes beyond policies and extends to fostering an inclusive company culture. For example, motherhood is often seen as a disadvantage in the workplace and often an excuse for discriminatory hiring practices. Providing comprehensive training to managers and employees on unconscious bias and the unique challenges working parents face is essential. This fosters understanding, empathy, and a more equitable workplace where mothers feel valued and supported.

Furthermore, companies should actively invest in mothers’ career development. Offering mentorship programs, leadership training, and clear career paths demonstrates a commitment to their professional growth and counters the “motherhood penalty” that often hinders women’s career advancement.

It is also key to regularly solicit feedback from working mothers. By creating platforms for open dialogue, companies can identify pain points, tailor solutions, and build a more supportive environment where mothers feel heard and empowered to contribute their best.

This Mother’s Day, let’s move beyond celebrations and commit to concrete actions that empower Maldivian mothers. By adopting family-friendly policies, fostering an inclusive culture, and investing in the well-being of their employees, Maldivian companies not only enhance their workforce but also contribute to a brighter future for the nation. Supporting working mothers is not just a moral imperative; it’s a strategic investment that benefits everyone.

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