23 November 2015
‘Mumternships’ is the term that has been coined for the scheme where firms in America recruit female interns in their 40s and 50s who are returning to work after having raised a family.
The buzz surrounding ‘mumternships’ has grown quickly over the last year as American companies scramble to meet their government targets for numbers of women in management positions. But could something similar work in the UK?
This side of the pond, firms have started to launch ‘returnships’ and such schemes are on the rise, the aim being to address gender imbalance in the boardroom by easing our highly skilled women back into work after extended career breaks. A ‘returnship’ is a paid scheme which lasts around 12 weeks and about half of the interns get taken on permanently.
It’s good news that some companies are starting to take seriously the need to address gender imbalance in top positions and also recognise the business benefits of welcoming intelligent women back into the workplace.
There is a wealth of talent in women who’ve had career breaks and want to return to work. However, many still find that after a long break they face difficulties reintegrating back into professional life. Valuing the immense contribution capable woman have to make by providing a way back in to work should help reduce the deficit of senior women in work.
The introduction of ‘returnships’ is a welcome move, as we recently highlighted how much work still needs to be done in order to get women into executive positions within British boardrooms in our Gender Balance Report blog.
Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination at Work is a Common Problem with many women finding out that their role has changed or that they have been taken off large client accounts upon their return to work after having a child.
Sadly, many women are treated differently in work after getting pregnant. Nine per cent of the mothers surveyed in the Equality and Human Rights Commission Report said they were treated better before they got pregnant; meanwhile five per cent of mums returning to work after having a child found their salary or bonus had been reduced.
The UK should do everything it can to support mums coming back to work. Research has shown that children who have working mothers, tend to do better in later life. Discover more by reading Working Mothers’ Positive Influence on Their Children.
Homa Wilson is an employment solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.
The employment solicitors at Slater and Gordon provide expert legal advice on maternity and sex discrimination.
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