Support for mothers means investing in human capital

Support for mothers means investing in human capital

Women exchange experience in addressing employment problems for mothers

Participants in the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum discussed the problem of maintaining a balance between family and career as well as working mothers during the expert session ‘Motherhood and Employment: Supporting Mothers in the Workforce’.

Even though modern technologies have provided women with the opportunity to work remotely and promote entrepreneurial initiatives on the Internet, the theme of women’s employment remains important in many countries throughout the world.

Some of the world’s most advanced countries have been able to achieve the greatest success in implementing programmes to support mothers in the workforce. One of them is France, which remains the leader in terms of the birth rate in Europe. Maria Rhomari, an expert with the International Affairs and Studies Unit at the French Ministry of Solidarities and Health, described how her government manages to stay ahead of the game in this regard and look out for the interests of young mothers. She noted that the family policy is based on three main pillars: financial support, a balance between work and rest, and the development of preschool institutions. Childcare leave in France is treated as work and is taken into account when calculating pension benefits. The country also provides special support to low-income families and single parents.

During the expert session, Russian First Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Protection Alexey Vovchenko spoke about Russia’s experience in implementing programmes that aim to support maternity and childhood and noted that legislation in such matters has been effective.

However, he said the wide range of guarantees for mothers imposes many restrictions on employers and that for this reason barriers often arise for the employment of young women. Vovchenko noted that today this issue is viewed equally along with other important measures that help to address employment problems and increase the birth rate in Russia. In particular, the government is paying special attention to creating additional places in preschool institutions, developing flexible forms of employment, and forming a register of professional nannies whom many Russian families can afford to hire.

The expert discussion participants addressed the problem of returning mothers to the workforce after childcare leave.

Vovchenko said that work is currently under way in Russia to create conditions to upgrade women’s skills during maternity leave. Such a measure would enable young mothers to remain competitive when they go back to work. He said the government plans to consider the possibility of creating groups for young children in offices at major companies.

Agency for Strategic Initiatives Corporate Director Elena Myakotnikova noted that an important step in resolving problems related to the employment of women is to create conditions to stimulate entrepreneurship: provide consulting services, fund the expenses of young women entrepreneurs, and establish tax holidays, among other things.

At the conclusion of the discussion, the participants concluded that each country can and should support young mothers because this is an effective investment in human capital. The speakers also agreed that maintaining a balance between family and careers is possible, but that women need help with this from the state in the form of a set of social measures.

Kristina Danilina,

Eurasian Women’s Community Information Agency