Editor’s note: This post was republished with permission from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Growthology blog.
A new report, Labor after Labor, from the Kauffman Foundation examines the challenges facing mothers in the workforce. Mothers leave the traditional workplace for entrepreneurship, seeking to increase flexibility in their personal and work lives. However, entrepreneurship also has its own sets of challenges for mothers.
The paper explores mother entrepreneurship within the context of four trends, including:
- The overall labor force participation and demographic trends, such as the presence of women in the workforce, increasing education levels, and delayed marriage and childbearing;
- The changing nature of work, which summarizes a shift from traditional employment;
- The impact of millennials entering the workforce and their priority on work-life balance; and
- The implications of cognitive biases for mother entrepreneurs, as entrepreneurship is viewed as a masculine, competitive occupation.
Policy solutions, outlined in the paper, offer suggestions for policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurship support organizations, and society as a whole.
- Public policy solutions should include rethinking parental leave policies, egalitarian parenting responsibilities, and work expectations.
- Increasing research is needed on the changing nature of work and its implications.
- Entrepreneurship support organizations can provide family-friendly spaces, create mentoring programs for mother entrepreneurs, and offer counseling services.
- Finally, to improve the perception of entrepreneurship as accessible to mothers, stories of entrepreneurs who have been successful in both business and family life should be promoted.
One of the biggest takeaways from the paper is that the changing nature of work challenges us to rethink how work is structured and rewarded. Finding policy solutions that support working mothers, both as employees and entrepreneurs, can provide broad benefits to parents, workers, and the economy.
Check out the full paper here.
Emily Fetsch is a research assistant in Research and Policy for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and assists in the processing of new grants including grant research, grant write-ups, setting deadlines, and reviewing financials. She also assists in writing literature reviews and informative briefs, and conducts quantitative and/or qualitative analysis on the economy, policy, and entrepreneurship.