Moms should feel welcome at B-Schools for MBA programs to complete their post-graduate degree and enhance their professional life. After all, business schools have been encouraging more Moms for MBA Admission to earn the master’s degree. While the numbers of women in B-School have improved but still haven’t reached gender parity.
Women, for generations, in human history have been considered as weaker sections of society by the other gender, typecasting them to certain duties which were underwhelming with respect to their actual potential. However, women have risen from time to time breaking barriers and proving the patriarch society wrong and living up to their full caliber. In recent times, women have not only progressed much further in the so-called ‘men’s line’ of work by acquiring the knowledge and education required but also aced many such areas thus, challenging the deeply rooted stereotypes of the society and skewing them it in their favour.
However, one of the few things that still concern women globally about their careers or personal lives is motherhood. Many women still feel like giving up their respective studies or careers for the sake of their children. This dilemma is prominent in case of MBA as very often child-bearing years and MBA programs coincide. The timing really couldn’t be worse for women who want a family and a career.
Business Schools have tried to combat this situation by encouraging more women to enrol in their courses and providing facilities on campus to help them fit-in. Women and men in Business clubs are active on campus, even men show their support enthusiastically by forming “men as allies” groups in certain business schools. Still, business schools and MBA programs could do much more to support women who have children or are pregnant while the duration of the course.
This article focuses on various possible alternatives which can make it easier for mothers and pregnant women to take up and finish the MBA course.
Business schools have made huge efforts in supporting women on campus. Harvard Business School famously conducted its grand experiment to create more gender equity in its MBA program, and others have reached out to women and tried to show them the success they could achieve with an MBA degree. Few, however, have gone the extra mile to support moms who want to earn an MBA. As a result, moms are still the unicorns of MBA programs.
The problem is unicorns don’t always feel as though they fit in well. Many MBA students socialize on campus between classes, like networking at bars late into the evenings, a luxury not all Moms can afford. It’s not that they don’t want to hang out like everyone else does. It’s just that they have lots of other chores to do on a given day.
Cultivate a Culture of Flexibility
Women or mothers do not require any special treatment, or the ability to shirk their responsibilities at work. But professors and fellow classmates should be slightly flexible and understanding of their situation as moms have unique responsibilities, especially in the early days of their children’s lives. For instance, if mom has to go home to breastfeed, professors should understand if she’s a few minutes late to class. At the same time, if mom cannot make it back to campus for the club meeting, then let her dial in with Skype or a conference call. The point is to be willing to help mom fulfil all her responsibilities.
Provide on-site childcare
Daycare costs serious amounts money, especially for full-time MBA students who are forgoing salaries for up to two years while studying. The cost of childcare might be enough to turn away some moms as they also have to invest time in classes and group projects, not to mention clubs and networking events, all of which keep them on or near campus and away from their kids.
The convenience factor of On-site daycare cannot be underestimated as it would make it possible for moms to visit with their children in between appointments. Of course, schools could charge for daycare, but perhaps they could have discounts or other ways to defray the cost.
Have Places for Breastfeeding
MBA moms tend to have little one which means, they might still be nursing. This might be true for faculty and others on campus too. Racing back and forth between home and school to breastfeed might be a very stressful and intense job. Ideally, the areas for pumping should be clean, peaceful, and private. Business schools usually invest in fancy group meeting areas and incubators. A station for women on campus to pump breast milk for their babies, so they don’t have to choose between going to class and their preference for the kid’s nutrition does not seems like too much to ask.
Conclusively, steps should be taken to empower MBA moms – Moms for MBA Admission and increase gender parity in business schools. Moms should not feel like they have an extra burden on their shoulders while they are focusing on building their careers rather they should be able to enjoy the childhood of their little ones as well as excel in their respective fields. Women have risen above barriers from centuries and this seems too little a barrier to be afraid of.
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