I was recently talking to a female investor about the progress women have made in the workforce. She didn’t mince words.“I used to think we were breaking glass ceilings,” she said. “We aren’t. I see the same number of female CEOs, VPs, and board members as I did 15 years ago.”
Unfortunately, she’s right. And as the CEO of Maven, a women’s health company, I see how the systemic problems in our health system hold back women in the workforce everyday.
Companies say they want more women leaders and better retention of top female talent after childbirth. And more than 75% of expecting women in the workforce say they are excited to go back to work after giving birth. But in the end, 43% of them end up leaving their jobs.
Why the disconnect?
The truth is that new moms face long-term physical and psychological adjustments, but the majority of companies’ maternity programs are simply not up to the task of providing the necessary support—part of a larger health system that has ignored women’s needs for decades.
The solution requires businesses to rethink their approach towards expecting and new mothers, and implement a more comprehensive model of maternity support that offers a full range of mental and physical support, from fertility to the fourth trimester, the transition back to work, and all points in between for women in the workforce.
Particularly in sectors that value attracting and retaining scarce talent, investing in maternal health and return-to-work support is essential to maintaining your business. We've added up the hidden costs of losing women when they become new mothers—including those who come back to work after their maternity leave, struggle for a few months, and then quit within the first year—and you might get sticker shock. For a large company with hundreds of new moms per year, that number climbs quickly into the hundreds of millions of lost dollars.
Maven has published an in-depth report called “Back-to-work: The billion-dollar opportunity” on the issues women in the workforce face regarding maternity and return-to-work in corporate America. We dive into the financial impact on the average company, offer practical lessons for executives and industry leaders, and illuminate the path toward a more productive and inclusive workforce.
To read the report go to www.mavenclinic.com/back-to-work
To request a demo go to www.mavenclinic.com/for-business