- Women today spend 16 more hours a week performing paid labour than they did 50 years ago, yet they spend just as much time with their children as stay-at-home mothers did in the 1970s,Pew Research shows.
- Since the US government offers little help to working mothers, some entrepreneurial parents took matters into their own hands.
- From companies that offer digital family planning help, to those that find in-home childcare, here are nine startups helping mums re-enter the workforce.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Getting back into the workforce after childbirth isn’t easy – and that’s why some mums are helping each other make the transition.
Mothers today spend 16 more hours a week performing paid labour than they did 50 years ago, though they spend just as much time with their children as stay-at-home mothers did in the 1970s, according to the Pew Research Centre and The New York Times.
Often, the amount of work childcare takes on top of a paid job, along with stereotypes that it’s a mother’s job to care for children, leaves women with no other option but to quit working. Without guaranteed maternal leave in the US, some 43% of American women with children leave the workforce at some point in their careers.
Some mums are taking matters into their own hands. Entrepreneurial women started companies that connect mothers and companies with flexible work hours, or ship breast milk home during work trips. Women also built apps to help mums find support systems, or send videos to their children remotely.
Business Insider rounded up nine startups helping mums re-enter the workforce, most of them founded by mums themselves. Here they are:
Ivan De Luce contributed to a previous version of this article.
Werk is an online platform that helps companies change their flexibility policies to help mums returning to the workforce.
Annie Dean and Anna Auerbach are the co-founders and co-CEOs of Werk, an online people analytics platform that helps mothers return to the workforce.
Dean and Auerbach founded Werk in 2016 in New York, and now they have clients from around the world. Their SaaS platform uses behavioural science and predictive analytics to help those clients make their working schedules more flexible.
And women see the most benefits from this approach. According to a statement from the Werk, “Of the 30% of women who leave the workforce after having a child, 70% would have stayed if they had access to flexibility.”
“When we started Werk, our goal was not just to make the workplace more flexible for women, but to ultimately create a new kind of workplace that supports and facilitates the ascension of women to leadership,” Dean told Business Insider.
Caribu is a video-calling app designed with children in mind.
Most video-calling apps display one user’s face in the corner of the screen, and the other’s face all over the rest of the screen. This can make video-calling with kids difficult. What if you want to read a them a book?
Caribu, a Miami-based startup, lets kids talk to their loved ones over video while giving them an ample enough screen to add other activities.
Maxeme Tuchman, Caribu’s co-founder, told Business Insider its mission is to bring families together. “Caribu helps any mother, or grandmother, ensure she can get a bedtime story in no matter if she’s travelling, working late or living far away,” she said.
Maven is a virtual clinic for women and families.
Maven, a New York-based startup, was founded by Kate Ryder in 2014. It’s designed to help women find healthcare professionals – anyone from OB-GYNs and nurse practitioners to midwives and doulas.
Maven also provides support for working women in the form of healthcare advocates. “Just the other day, Maven helped a woman who was on a work trip to Singapore ship her breast milk home to her baby in the US,” Ryder told Business Insider.
Wonderschool is a network for finding in-home childcare and preschools.
Wonderschool founder Arrel Grey learned about the hassles of child daycare when his son was wait-listed for San Francisco daycare centres time and time again.
He learned that in California, 75% of kids get wait-listed for daycare, and 60% don’t find daycare at all. So he founded Wonderschool in 2016 along with Chris Bennett. Wonderschool is an online network that makes finding preschool, daycare, or in-home childcare easier.
“At Wonderschool, our mission is to ensure every child has access to early education that helps them realise their potential,” Grey told Business Insider.
The Peanut app helps connect like-minded mums.
Peanut helps women connect with other mums for support after childbirth. The dating-app-style service helps “like-minded” mums find each other.
Today, Peanut has over 650,000 users around the world and 15 million on-app messages, according to a spokesperson. “Peanut is facilitating conversations for women about all aspects of life, from how to return to work following maternity leave to how their relationships have changed with their significant others after baby,” the company stated.
Milk Stork helps breastfeeding mums ship their milk back home during work trips.
Milk Stork helps working mums ship breast milk back home to their baby. The travelling mum packs her milk into Milk Stork’s cooler and gets it shipped or toted to her home.
CEO Kate Torgersen came up with the idea for the service after she couldn’t adequately commit to breastfeeding her babies as she travelled for work. “Since then, Kate has made it her mission to normalize pumping and motherhood in the workplace by encouraging companies to offer Milk Stork as an essential employee benefit,” the company said in a statement.
The Mum Project is a for-profit company that connects mothers who don’t want to stop working after having kids with relevant companies.
Mums create profiles on The Mum Project with relevant experience and what they are looking for in a job. Employers can then offer mums positions for temporary or full-time posts.
Company CEO Allison Robinson founded The Mum Project after learning 43% of caregivers leave the workforce when they give birth. “At The Mum Project, we’re committed to helping women remain active in the workforce at every stage in their journey, and we’re proud to work with employers who are committed to designing and supporting a better workplace,” the company said in a statement.
The Riveter is a co-working space founded by a mum who says she was passed up for a job promotion after returning from maternity leave.
The Riveter is a mum-friendly co-working space founded by mum Amy Nelson. A former corporate litigator, Nelson says she felt a “fundamental shift” in the way she was perceived at work after telling her male colleagues she was pregnant. Because of this, she says she got passed up for a promotion after returning from maternity leave.
The mum founded the co-working space to encourage more highly skilled women to re-enter the workforce after giving birth.
Komae is an app that lets mums trade off times to babysit one another’s kids, saving them money on childcare costs.
In 2014, then-stay-at-home mums Amy Husted and Audrey Wallace began their own personal babysitting cooperative. The mums in their friend group would take turns babysitting one another’s kids, saving the mums thousands of dollars in childcare costs. As it began to grow, they turned their idea into an app, Komae, where mums can connect with other mums and trade off babysitting duties. Since launching the app, Komae has grown to over 20,000 families on the platform and the team has partnered with Erin Beck of the Wana Family Network.
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