Women face daily discrimination in the UK, because of their potential or ability to become mothers.
A woman at childbearing age may not even be invited to an interview. Employers are keenly aware that a young woman could come one day at work with a protruding bump and, thus, disrupt operations. As a consequence, they prefer employing men.
Despite the legal protection afforded to women, many of us had to go through the difficult (but unavoidable) discussion on our marital status, number of kids, their age, plans for having more etc. The wrong answer would certainly land you in hot water.
Things do not get better, when the woman finally gets the job. As long as she is unattached and childless, her expertise, hard work and diligence would always be acknowledged. The moment she stays pregnant, there will be an implicit (if not explicit) assumption that she can no longer perform the tasks she performed in the past. Even if she can…
The unfair assumptions effectively leads to actions ranging from bulling to dismissal. The law is falling short and the situation in the UK is endemic.
The results are not disastrous only for women. They also have a negative impact on businesses. After all they deprive themselves from their most skillful employees.
The above statement will become clear, if we examine briefly the skills a woman acquires, when she becomes a mother.
First and foremost, she is getting very advanced time management skills. When the baby arrives, the demands on her time are increasing multifold. Between changing diapers, feeding the baby, taking care of the household and surviving sleep deprivation, there is no more room for anything else. Going out with friends, continuing her hobbies, or even having a proper meal are out of the question. The only way to pull through this situation is to manage her time tightly. Procrastination habits are extinguished at one stroke and they do not reappear until (maybe) kids are in college.
Secondly, negotiation skills are sharpened. Screaming, demanding kids can wreck your nerves before you know it. There is high demand for advanced negotiation skills in order to navigate through daily and irrational demands. For example, when the kid is screaming that he does not want to wear his pyjamas, you give him a choice: do you want to wear the blue or the red ones? This is called ‘alternative close’ in business lingo.
Thirdly, sales skills become much more advanced. A recent example is the following. The kids want an inflatable green crocodile, when they go swimming. You cannot find one in the local store and you buy a yellow dinosaur instead. How would you sell this to your most demanding customer, your kid? Obviously you exalt the qualities of the dinosaur and you roar your way to success!
Fourthly and most importantly, marketing skills. You get to know your customer intimately. You find out about his needs and wants. You know how to push his ‘buttons’. In fact, you get to reform some of them! Your customer segment is clearly defined and you are getting ready to sell morals, ethics, skills, behaviours etc.
And if anyone has any more doubts about skills arising from motherhood, pay me a visit and I will show them in practice.
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