Moms in the Workplace

Rose with LaptopMother’s Day is around the corner, so I’m taking this opportunity to recognize moms who work outside of the home.

Here’s what we know:

There are lots of statistics about women-owned businesses in the U.S. (e.g., there were about 9.1 million women-owned businesses as of 2014, which is 30% of all enterprises in the country, according to a report from Womenable and American Express OPEN). But I couldn’t find any meaningful statistics about moms who own businesses in the U.S.

Statistics from the UK show that about one-third of all self-employed individuals are women and 17% are business owners, but again, no breakdown for “mums” in these categories.

Protections and assistance for working moms

Times have changed since I was just starting a family, and younger readers probably will find my recollections bizarre. Back then, you were lucky if you weren’t fired once your pregnancy became visible (e.g., teachers were forced to leave the classroom). There were no formal arrangements for maternity leave. And there was no such thing as paid maternity leave if a job was held for you. There was no short-term disability payment from state programs. And there were certainly no widespread workplace accommodations for nursing moms.

Today, federal and state laws provide protections for moms who are employees. There’s the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (for impairments resulting from pregnancy). Short-term disability under state programs provides some monetary assistance during maternity leave, and some employers offer short-term disability coverage under private plans. Find more about federal protection for pregnancy from the EEOC.

There are no government protections for self-employed moms. It’s up to them to make their work-life arrangements. But being self-employed works out for many such women who, like me, have found the scheduling flexibility a key benefit, especially during child-raising years.


Happy Mother’s Day to all moms … those who are business owners, those who have paying jobs, and stay-at-home moms who receive no monetary compensation for their hard work.


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