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Moms feel empowered, but have little support in workplace

Wednesday, February 22, 2012  
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A majority of working mothers have professional ambitions and believe they are receiving support from their spouses and families, but are challenged by a lack of childcare benefits offered by their workplaces, according to a national survey by, an online caregiver resource.

Nearly eight out of 10 working moms enjoy being a working parent, according to the survey of 1,000 employed American women who have children under 18. Half of the women said working enables them to be strong role models for their children.

What’s more, nearly 60 percent aspire to move higher in the professional ranks -- and promotion feels possible. Nearly eight in 10 working moms do not feel they have been passed over for a promotion because of a perceived lack of commitment to work. Forty percent said working makes them more creative as a parent and being a parent has added perspective that enhances their contributions at work. Nearly one-third are motivated to work and take on new roles since becoming a parent, while nearly as many said they are more productive since having children.

Working moms report support at home has enabled them to work. More than three-quarters said they have a spouse or partner who participates in the raising of their children. Among those, nine out of 10 feel their spouse or partner supports their career goals. Plus, feelings of "mommy guilt" are not a huge factor in their lives; 64 percent said job demands do not interfere with their ability to be a good parent.

Even so, as more women enter or re-enter the workplace, and professional aspirations grow, businesses are seen as ignoring the needs of working moms. Nearly three out of four companies employing these working moms do not offer childcare benefits. Fewer than 20 percent offer flex-spending accounts, 6 percent offer on-site childcare, 5 percent offer emergency back-up care and 4 percent subsidize childcare.

This lack of childcare support has had a detrimental effect on women’s performance and career goals, the survey revealed. Nearly 40 percent of the respondents had to miss work during the last year because of a childcare issue.

"This survey makes it clear that much still needs to be done in the workplace to support them in motherhood,” said Katie Bugbee, managing editor of "Women now hold more than half of the entry-level jobs at American blue-chip companies. According to the 2011 White House Report on Women, women will account for nearly 60 percent of total undergraduate enrollment by 2019. When nearly 40 percent of the female workforce has to miss work because of a childcare issue, the productivity loss is felt on the bottom line.”

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