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Integral Education: Strategic Challenges & Road-Map ahead (VIII). Strategic Innovation in Education – Are working moms better moms? (Part D).

happy thanksgivingGood afternoon to all. Hope you are fine and well. It is Wednesday, almost Thanksgiving for all Americans. Many are traveling at the moment. I wish you a beautiful Thanksgiving day. May God bless you during these days, with joy, gratitude, and embezzlement.

Today we will continue with pre-schoolers. Pre-school is the time where kids “officially” leave home to join a formal institution for early childhood education, conducted by trained early childhood specialists. If the kid has been with mom, this is the time where he or she “officially” will be at a different space called the school with other kids of his/her same age. It is the phase where other kids also do the same.

The pre-school time starts usually when the kids turn out to be 3 years old. In some entities, kids may be accepted between 2.5 to 3. And before getting into pre-schoolers, it is imperative to ask ourselves? What is the role of women in the educational system? What is the role of the child´s mom?

I have seen online, extensive literature and research, which demonstrates that maternal employment, has a detrimental effect on children’s cognitive development when it occurs during children’s first year of life. In simple terms: if there is an age where a working mom, should consider being with her kids, this is when the kids are infants (between 0 to 12 months). As we have seen it previously, the importance of mom during the first 12 months of life over the child´s brain development is crucial. Nevertheless, the reality is completely different. More and more, moms work because of necessity, rather than because of an option. Everywhere. Moms leave their kids with nannies or grandparents and return to work after 3 months of maternity leave. This is the new normal. And it is not because they have chosen for it, but they simply are on duty and have to do it. It is necessary for them. Many single moms have to work because they are the only income provider in their households.

I am a working professional woman, and I treasure my occupation as one of the key activities that allows me to be balanced and keep my brain on top, as much as my mind healthy and clear. As you may know, I spent several years trying to find employment outside El Salvador without success. Those years were miserable not because of the lack of income, which it is still a fact nowadays. But because my brain was simply suffering. the best of both worlds.jpgWhen a woman is not able to put her brain in motion (to work intellectually), she is wretched. There are several studies which have proven that women who do not work, do not have the required equilibrium or balance meanwhile they raise kids. Furthermore, what is worst, she is usually depressed, unhappy and she can´t radiate constructive or optimistic experiences into the child or her spouse either.  I believe in retaining my professional life during the first years of my future marriage. The idea of setting up my company was with the purpose to be ready to have flexible time and change my traditional work in the office for a flexible work at home. By having the best of both worlds: keeping my brain busy with a productive job, and from home will be the foundation for my future married life and babies. At least that is my own value proposition for my own life, for the time being. According to a study by the American Psychological Association of over 1,300 moms, the happiest moms are those who work part-time. So, I am not wrong with my choice.

workign at home.jpgI am a strong supporter that any woman can continue working after having babies. But to do it on balance means that, the working system has to change a lot. As it is designed right now,  the work system in the world, the work scheme, schedules, and maternity leave permits are not working for the wants and needs of women, neither for babies.

At the moment, the only method, if you wish personally to provide a supportive environment for your kids, and continue working, is to have a flex work system. But, the availability of flexible working arrangements – such as work from home and flexi-time – and of reduced working hours (up to part-time work)- is not by law enforcement yet in many countries, included advanced economies.

work at home disruptor.jpgIf you wish to keep your 100% full-time corporate job, the only solution you will have is to leave your baby´s learning process in other person´s hands. Still, this may prove to be correct particularly if you leave your baby in the “right caring hands”.  But if you don´t have the capacity to pay for a trusted, reliable and professional baby caregiver, or a super nanny or your parents or relatives won´t be there to help you, this is not a solution for working mothers. The reality: there is an insufficient availability of flexible working arrangements and/or of possibilities to reduce working hours. And this triggers women, to drop out of the labor market.

working from home.jpg For example, the government of all countries in the world has to re-design the work system for mothers. It is more than subsidize different programs. It is more than passing a law order to help you stay at home during the first year of your baby´s life. Which means to extend the maternal leave of absence from 12 weeks (on average) to 52 weeks. This has to be done. The baby needs her mom the most during these 52 weeks. Which means each company and the government have to pay for at least 80% of the monthly wage to each working mother, and they have to keep her position (get a temporary person to cover her during those weeks).  Once the mother returns to work, after a year of the delivery, the job system may give her the chance to choose to keep a part-time figure, and she will not be fired during the next three years. Besides, she won´t drop the employment. In addition, governments have to help and support women entrepreneurs who are moms!. New laws in place have to be designed to permit her to work remotely, or from home as another option.

work from my bed.jpgThe government has to redesign the work system for moms by providing subsidies to her role. It is a social measure which is not in place yet as a system in every country.  These type of maternity subsidies can help working moms in different manners. Nowadays, there are many examples of social help for working mothers or kids. But the concept of the work system has not changed for women yet. For example, The European Union have been discussing tax benefit systems affecting the work incentives. In some states of the USA, if you pay a daycare center, babysitter, summer camp, or other care providers for a child under age 13, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of qualifying expenses of $3,000 for one child or dependent, or up to $6,000 for two or more children or dependents. This is an example of tax benefit system which helps to a female working mother economically. In the UK there is a Child Benefit System, which is money paid or in-kind allowance to parents or other people who are responsible for bringing up a child. For the brits, childcare includes different measures such as free school meals, a sure start maternity grant, help for childcare costs, healthy start food vouchers, tax-free childcare, school clothing, and school traveling expenses.

positive time side.jpgMany European countries have provided flexible solutions to working mothers. As you know, I lived and worked in Zurich, Switzerland. And, I was able to see how this society has provided options or solutions for working mothers. After having your baby, in Switzerland,  you can opt to work a percentage of your time. This percentage depends on you, your finances, and the quality aid you can find to daycare your kid; all meanwhile, you are at the office. Usually, working moms tend to choose for a part-time job, straight away after the baby is born. A good daycare institution or nanny is expensive, and many Europeans believe it is economically viable to work part-time than to continue working and pay for a nanny or daycare.

My intention of today´s post is to open the eyes to the decision makers on the planet. To start re-designing a system for working women. Legally, each government has to protect working mothers. Women and babies must feel safe by the law, when pregnancies arrive in their life, they will be able to keep their jobs and continue being productive. A whole year of maternity leave of absence after the child is born is required. The working system has to become flexi-time women-friendly, at least until kids are 6 years old. The needs and wants for mothers have to be solved.

Tomorrow we will start with pre-schoolers. All right, this is all for now. See you! Thanks, Thanksgiving!.thanksgiving-clipart-bee-9

Source References utilized for this article:

Disclaimer: All the presentation slides shown on this blog are prepared by Eleonora Escalante MBA-MEng. Nevertheless, all the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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