Lindsey Fish, founder of Mums Enterprise and a CRN WiC judge, explains how perceptions about working mums are slowly changing, in part due to Brexit
It is impossible to argue with biology when it comes to having children, but in the past women have often been left at a disadvantage when it comes to progressing their careers following maternity leave.
Thankfully, this situation is evolving as perceptions of flexible working change and the extensive experience pool offered by these women grows; but it is a slow process.
Lindsey Fish (pictured), former marketing manager at Exponential-e, decided to leave her job in the channel and set up her own business after maternity leave in 2014. Her company Little Fish Event Management ran other companies' events, but in 2015 Mums Enterprise was born.
"I had a great city-based job, but I worked out that I would be left with very little of my salary once I had paid all the bills, and also I'd be leaving [daughter] Molly in childcare for 11 hours a day," explained Fish, who is also a judge on CRN's Women in Channel awards.
"It felt like the stars had aligned and I used my extensive experience in the corporate world to set up Little Fish. Listening to other mum friends talk about their experiences and needs led to the birth of Mums Enterprise."
The idea behind Mums Enterprise was to create an event that showcased brands and companies that can help or support women and men returning to work, either through employment, flexible working, retraining or advice.
"We welcome everybody, regardless of gender," said Fish. "Anybody who wants an alternative to the 9-5 job. We help provide a platform for the ‘mum economy'. We connect individuals looking to retrain or find flexibility in a job with the experts who can give them that opportunity. It really is going well and we keep pushing ourselves beyond crazy limits."
Now in its third year, Mums Enterprise is running a two-day roadshow in London, Olympia and a one-day roadshow in Manchester, and expects to see a combined 10,000 visitors through its doors during the two events.
While such events are crucial for networking and raising awareness of this important issue, does Fish feel the corporate world's attitude is changing towards working mums?
"I do think it's changing," she said. "As management gets younger and millennials go up the chain, that is where the ethics differ to that of the older CEO or managing director. They [millennials] are trying to change things and are bringing this issue to the attention of the board and C-level executives. I think trust and fear are the biggest barriers with the older generation of management when it comes to employing working mothers, but in reality, a diverse workforce is a positive thing.
"Brexit is also forcing UK organisations to change their thinking. People are having to job share and work flexibly because a lot of talent is leaving the country, and there are roles that need filling. There is also an increase in the number of men who want to have an active role in their child's life and are making use of paternity leave or staying at home to bring up their children."