The myth that women are far better than men at multitasking is one that has been around for decades. However, this legend is being put to the test, as increasingly, women have to juggle the strain of family life with the stresses of a career.
The continual balancing act of earning a living, while providing their child with the best possible care and affection, is far from a straightforward duty.
A report published in 2015, revealed that a third of Britain’s working mothers were the main breadwinners in their family, despite the majority of those asked, being categorised as ‘low earners’.
Although the number of new mothers successfully merging both work and childcare into their lifestyle has increased, some women still struggle to maintain their employed status on their return to full-time work.
A Government-commissioned report last year highlighted that three in four UK mothers have had a negative or discriminatory experience in the workplace. As a result, 11% of these women felt forced to leave their position at their respective companies.
It seems that some employers in today’s society are still living in the dark ages, with pessimistic comments and responses regarding pregnancy and maternity leave, seemingly allowed to take place. It’s becoming an all too familiar feeling for women to be disappointed by the lack of opportunities given to them following their time away.
Having a mother who works is having an unexpected result on their children, too. Youngsters who see a motherly figure working in a professional environment at home generally develop higher levels of communication, social skills and overall sophistication at an early age.
One field specifically, in which the social barrier of family vs work is most relevant, is the entertainment industry. Martin Spence, assistant general secretary for Bectu, the union for broadcasting, film and theatre, even went as far as to say: “Many find the price they have to pay for pursuing a career in film or TV is to never have a family. It is grossly unfair.”
Current Producer at Neon Films and Co-Founder of Raising Films, Nicky Bentham, explained more about the challenges facing those concerned:
“I think the challenges are huge because there are a wide range, from physical and financial challenges, to more emotional and physiological ones. In our industry in particular, there can be a huge amount of discrimination and bias.”
Nicky went on to explain about the website which was set up during the early days of the organisation, to encourage the sharing of stories. However, the schemes have been a factor which have been extremely successful.
“We have run various schemes, initially at the Edinburgh Film Festival, before continuing to run them in Bath, Leeds and London. They provide support for film makers, getting back to work after becoming a parent, which includes life coaching, as well as meetings with child psychologists, accountants, talent agents, along with a panel of film makers who help make the whole thing possible.”