My highest grossing year to date is the one where I was going through fertility treatments & pregnant. During this time, I feared sharing my story publicly because I didn't want it to discourage potential clients or for it to harm my career in any way. I knew I could manage both and what I was capable of. This sentiment is shared by many women with career ambitions, be it entrepreneurial or corporate.
The pandemic pushed us all to work from home. Ending long commutes while providing a new level of flexibility. I used this time to foster how the world was changing. Although being my own boss allowed me to be flexible with my time, moving my entire business to a virtual setting allowed me to thrive in ways I hadn't before. At the end of the year, when I saw the numbers, it proved that when we are strategic and supported, women can build empires while building a family.
I had the opportunity to share my story with The Globe & Mail on how the workplace can better support women navigating motherhood and fertility. Click here to read.
Did you know? During the pandemic when everyone transitioned to working from home, a rise in fertility treatments was reported. This is largely due to the flexibility and privacy that working from home gave people. The stigma around women prioritizing their home life was eliminated during that time because they had the freedom to choose both home and work. However, there are still gaps when it comes to supporting women in the workplace and seeing them as equals in what they bring to the table.
So, what can workplaces do to support women who are both returning to the office and undergoing fertility treatments?
1. Flexibility Throughout Parenthood
Workplaces must encourage flexible hours supporting women and their partners. For example, instead of a structured work week from 9-5, there should be flexibility without backlash so long as work is being completed successfully. Whether they are trying to conceive through fertility treatments or managing parenthood and their career, flexible hours allow people to focus on their work while still prioritizing themselves, their health and their children.
2. Change The Structure
Let's face facts, the 9-5 workplace structure doesn't make sense for women (and men) who want to thrive both at work and with their families. For example, school pick-ups and drop-offs happen at 8 am and 3 pm. This work structure, with a lack of flexibility, is from the Madmen Era where there was one homemaker and one breadwinner, which isn't the case in many households today.
3. Provide Medical Coverage
Private workplaces can opt to update insurance policies to include some coverage for fertility drugs & therapy. Private employee insurance plans should cover certain drugs that aren’t covered by OHIP and provide therapy coverage that helps alleviate some of the stress associated with this journey. By doing this, employers are showcasing their support for those women (and men) who are struggling and supporting their decision.
4. The Government Needs To Create Incentives
The government should create incentives that encourage businesses to support women throughout their journeys. Incentive programs that provide specific training for upper management and tax breaks for businesses can allow for flexibility in the workplace. This not only supports women but also transitions society to end the stigma around a woman's capabilities during this time and throughout motherhood.
This is just the beginning...
It's now time to take action to build change. So ask yourself what are you doing to help be strategic and build a supportive workplace where people can thrive within their careers and build a family life.