Working Moms: Redefining Success & Finding Balance in the Life Sciences

Written by: Editor
Published on: 3 Aug 2022

Working Moms - CareerJay 2In the U.S, about one in three employed women raise their kids and also engage in a part-time job. The cost of living in this era forces moms to work. In 2019, A Pew profile on U.S. mothers showed that women are likely to become moms later in life due to spending their earlier adulthood pursuing education, career development, and financial security.

A good example is Jennifer Hotchkin. She is an executive director of Global Marketing, Commercial Planning for ALS and neurodegenerative diseases at Clene Nanomedicine. She devoted ten years of her career to focusing on learning and growth before becoming a mom. She also had a discussion with Biospaceabout balancing motherhood and her career in life sciences. 

Hotchkin shared some of her experiences of being a working mom. She was a curious, hardworking, and graduate who says yes to every new opportunity. She was taught the value of time and how to rethink her priorities and always seek the why when making a decision both at home or at work.

She also shared the difficulties and challenges she faces especially in the post-pandemic era. She also contended that success should not be confined to traditional work frameworks rather they should be a re-imaging of work and life achievement for all working parents.

Talking Numbers

It is no news that working moms also face obstacles in the workplace apart from the tension they go through in balancing career and family. The study of employment trends in Denmark in 2018 shows that women suffer a dramatic fall following the birth of the first child. Also, in the workplace, men are paid more compared to women. 

According to a McKinsey study in 2021, it says that despite the wage disparity, working moms are still on the move to attain managerial or executive positions in their workplace. The influence of the Covid-19 pandemic had a detrimental effect on women, leading to pressure for mothers to shift their focus away from careers and back to their homes.

According to BioSpace 2022 Life Sciences Salary Report, there is also a trend in wage and promotion disparity between men's and women's salaries in the life sciences industry. The report says that the average salary for women in life sciences is 9% lesser than the average salary of men.

The healthcare industry has also suffered a sharp decline in the positional role of women since the pandemic hit. Although, the healthcare industry may represent women better than all other industries. Women are not only underpaid but also underrepresented compared to their male counterparts. Only a few appear at the boardroom table because only 31% attain the executive role while 23% are CEOs.

Bridging the Gap

Recently, the demands for equitable wages and representation across all industries for women, people of race, and many more have increased with more companies taking action on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Although conversations around corporate DEI are becoming more familiar, companies often treat DEI with broad strokes, dumping all underrepresented groups into one bucket. As a result, there are challenges of inequalities to be addressed by each specific group faces.  

Industries like education, healthcare, and social assistance employ about 40% of working moms. There is also media coverage that shows the experiences of working mothers in biological sciences industries. Working moms and women are thriving to establish equity, building positive trends in the workplace, and encouraging DEI initiatives. Moms like Jen Hotchkin can be models for generations of young women who want to forge vibrant careers and raise healthy families. 

Hotchkin gave the following advice for women and moms interested in careers in the life sciences: 

  1. Do what you are passionate about: Never underestimate what you can offer.
  2. Locate people you trust, respect, and value: Build networks that can create opportunities for you.
  3. Choose an organization and team that align your values: Be with the organization that can build you up and connects with your values.
  4. Keep the patients at the center of the work you do.

Working moms will continue to bear the exhaustion if the wheel of progress is slow to change. While the life sciences industry should highlight the inequities in hiring, pay, and career advancement that women face at all levels, the unique experiences of working mothers also deserve some headlines.