According to Beyoncé, women run the world. While you might think this is an exaggeration or merely aspirational, a recent study from the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that companies are more profitable when more women take on leadership roles within the company.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that of all women in this country with children under the age of 18 years old, 69.9% were working or actively looking for work.
While the Peterson study is promising, here’s another statistic: only 14% of the top corporate leadership positions of companies in the S&P 500 are held by women. The number of those women who are mothers is even smaller.
And women in positions of power have a harder time managing their time and priorities when they are mothers. Sometimes, these moms receive pressure from onlookers, who can accuse them of working too much or not enough.
The one truth is that circumstances are different for every woman, and working moms have to decide how much work and what kind is right for them and for their families. But this is easier said than done.
What women need to navigate this difficult work/motherhood balance are mentors.
Because what statistics don’t show is the cost to many of these powerful women.
Trending research shows that women in top positions in politics inspire other women to take part—not only because they serve as role models but because they make it seem normal for women to hold these positions of power.
What holds true for politics works across the occupational board (and board room). A brave few can blaze a trail and inspire others, showing that a daunting climb is still surmountable. But sticking with a hard job, and all the pressures that come with it, on top of being a mother, can be exhausting, physically and emotionally. To survive this, women need more than just a remote role model. This brings us back to mentors.
The difference between a role model and a mentor.
A role model can be anyone, from a female politician, a historical figure, a pop singer, a teacher, or even a fictional superhero. These are examples that serve to inspire people. But often, these are not the people you can turn to for guidance.
Enter the mentor. A mentor is someone in the field who has been through what you’re going through and can give you sound advice. Mentors have become wiser from their experience and they enjoy empowering others. Mentors are supportive of others in similar situations and can put aside their own interests to help others.
Mentors can also fill in where family members are unable to help. With more people living busy lives or living apart from their traditional family support systems that include grandparents, parents, and extended family members, women will need to rely on external sources of help and guidance. Women mentors serve to empower other women and develop a community of assistance.
Not all workplaces look the same. And not all women mentors have to be the CEO or vice president of a company. Sometimes, mentors can be supportive friends and extended family members. But they can also be women within your community. Maybe they are even professional life coaches. These mentors can provide individually-based guidance and genuine support and friendship, which can help women get through the daily struggles. Because it’s one thing to have Sheryl Sandberg’s picture as your desktop wallpaper, but chances are pretty good that she’s not going to sit next to you late in the evening when you have a deadline looming and realize you’re going to miss your child’s game or recital, telling you, “You can do this!” Or telling you that missing a game or recital doesn’t make you a bad mother, especially when you are providing a good life for your family. That’s why we need mentors even more than role models.
At Moms Making Six Figures, we pride ourselves on mentoring working moms and helping them to follow their dreams and support their families, and we work together to build a community of empowered women. If you’re ready to join the community or would like more information, give us a call at (858) 837-1505, or visit our website at momsmakingsixfigures.com.