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Sarah Richardson joins me to discuss the Maternal Tax that faces mothers in the workforce.


  📍 Today in Health IT, we're going to take a look at the power of motherhood supporting maternal talent in the workforce with Sarah Richardson. We're actually going to talk to her and look forward to this discussion and talk about the motherhood penalty in the workforce.

So, should be interesting. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of This Week Health, set of channels and events dedicated to transform health care. One connection at a time. We want to thank our show sponsors who are investing in developing the next generation of health leaders, notable ServiceNow, Enterprise Health.

parlance, certify health and panda health. Check them out at thisweekhealth. com slash today. This news story and all the news stories we cover, you can find on our website, thisweekhealth. com slash news. Check it out. And one last thing, share this podcast with a friend or colleague. Use it as a foundation for daily or weekly discussions on the topics that are relevant to you and the industry.

They can subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Great way to mentor. And. It doesn't happen often, but on the Today Show, I'm actually joined by Sarah Richardson. Sarah, welcome to the Today Show.

Good morning, Bill.

Well, we're going to talk about this article that you wrote. People can find it on our website.

They can also hit concierge leadership, and it's out there, and it's titled, The Power of Motherhood Supporting Maternal Talent. in the workforce. What is the motherhood penalty?

It's a combination. And it's fair to also note that I co wrote that with one of my long time collaborators, Isala Gray, who is getting ready to have her first baby.

And we like to put out meaningful content. We're thinking about things that are important, and she's like, Hey, I'm getting ready to be a working mom. And here's the things that are true for me now in this. environment, as well as what's true for the people that she talks to and those that we've led over the years.

And so women already struggle with pay transparency or pay equity. We know this is true. The balance of being stuck in the middle of elder care and child care, because we end up being the ones who take care of our parents as they age. And then looking really for that space to have a supportive environment where you're not the one who has to act like you're, you know, Not able to go to a doctor's appointment or not able to go to a soccer game because you have to say there's something else happening.

And then also the policy and the stipends that can potentially go with that. The reaction to the article that I loved was how many moms reached out to me and said, Oh my gosh, I would love a stipend for childcare as an example of a way to feel like I could balance my life in a way that wasn't always a financial struggle.

Research shows that moms working full time year round earn only 74 cents for every dollar paid. to fathers perpetuating economic inequality. You know, it's, it's, it's interesting. I have that conversation from time to time and people. They say, well, no, that's getting better. I'm not sure that is getting better.

That seems like the same number I was talking about five years ago.

It isn't getting better. In fact, it was, uh, I think, I shouldn't say think, I believe up to like 87, first 87 cents pre pandemic. But then the pandemic, Required so many women to leave the workforce or reduce their time spent in the workforce to take care of kids, homeschool, take care of their parents, take care of all these different environments that were occurring.

What's super interesting though is in all of my roles as a leader, minus coming to work for This Week Health, I have spent a better part of my time looking to create equality in pay across the roles in my organizations. And I will tell you, every place I've ever been. The men were making significantly more than the women to a degree of like, wow, that's a lot of money.

And so I've always made it my mission to get to equality of pay along with skillset, years of experience, et cetera. And I'm proud of that. I'm proud of everywhere I've ever been. I've been able to significantly raise the salaries and the income of women performing the same jobs. And in some cases, better than their male counterparts.

Yeah, we could go down this path. I'm going to stick on this article. Since it's the today show, but we , we'll come back to this topic at a, at another time, probably on our yet to be announced live show. Well, there you go. Well, anyway, people will pick up on that later. To a certain extent, The work from home things that are going on, I would assume, has alleviated some of this.

Not completely, but alleviates some of this. But what are some other policies that employers can look at or managers can adopt that would support women and mothers in the workplace?

Sure, I've been in organizations and one of the favorite things I had was a place where I worked that had a new moms class, like literally like teaching you what, hey, so you're going to be a parent.

So guess what happens? Because if you work in healthcare, you know, you're probably tied to your own employer when it comes to taking care of your family, inclusive of having a baby in many cases. So there were classes that were like, hey, you're going to be a new mom. But it wasn't just specific to the mom.

It was like, hey, you're going to be a new parent. And what was so fun was watching. The potential new dads or the fathers go into these classes too and be like, wow, I had no idea. Like teaching you how to change the diaper, teaching you how to do some of these things, which can be offered outside of work.

But when it creates a community of a large enough team, large enough work environment, it creates camaraderie to where we had like the new babies club at a place where I worked for a while. And anybody who just had a baby, not only were we supportive in terms of like, Hey, send them a gift basket. Hey, send them flowers.

Hey, send them things they're going to need to be able to have. But really getting together and watching the joy in the parents share their stories. about being a parent. And we had one gentleman who was like, I can change it up with one hand now, after like four months. And that was like his thing. But we created space where it was okay to take time away from your computer or from a meeting to go and have a separate conversation, very specific to being a parent and what that meant.

And it spawned other conversations, it spawned how to deal with elder care, how to deal with all kinds of scenarios in life, because you bring your whole person to work and to home.


that's what today continues to be really, really key is that self care and balance is what does the whole person environment really look like?

I'm really going to encourage people to take a look at this article. I love this concept of parenting out loud. As advocated by Leslie Ford, founder of Moms Hierarchy of Needs, and it goes on to talk about this approach entails encouraging managers, supervisors, and those in positions of authority to openly acknowledge and share their caregiving responsibilities instead of concealing family commitments behind vague terms like appointment, , Managers must be real and specific, whether it's attending a child's soccer game, scheduling a dentist appointment for your child, or addressing child care challenges.

By normalizing discussions about caregiving duties, we not only cultivate a culture of transparency and trust, but also empower others to do the same. And, uh, you know, it's, uh, that is the start. The start is for managers to say, you know, It's okay. It's okay to have your kid to go to your kid's dentist appointment.

It's okay to do those things. , but I don't know. It's, I guess it's cultural. It's still systemic that we have these barriers. I wonder if it's across all organizations. I wonder how prevalent it is in healthcare. It would be interesting to, to study healthcare specifically and see what the current culture supports and doesn't support with regard to this.

That sounds like a poll we're going to put out on This Week Health soon.

Could be. Who knows? Sarah, thanks, uh, thanks for taking a couple moments. Uh, let me close this out. That's all for today. Don't forget, share this podcast with a friend or colleague. Use it as a foundation for mentoring. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.

Notable, ServiceNow, Enterprise Health, Parlance, Certify Health, and 📍 Panda Health. Check them out at ThisWeekHealth. com today. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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