Updated: Apr 27, 2020
I bet you remember those research projects. Remember the ones that required sources? The ones that you thought you could kind of breeze through because it's slightly opinionated, but then at the end of the prompt you see "Minimum of 5 scholarly articles". As daunting as those were, it was somewhat enlightening-reading through the studies done. The data found and the feeling of accomplishment that you had when you proved your point with hard data to back it up. So why aren't we giving this feeling of accomplishment to certain spaces? Epidemiology carries thousands of studies on the spread of pathogens and diseases. Cancer is at the height of research these days. Nutrition Sciences are at the forefront of today's new. So it's not a secret, much of the research that we find on wellness and working motherhood are articles on the internet. The research, however, is limited to opinion pieces and blogs that provide either very little actual research or none at all. There is plenty on the internet that holds water, especially when it comes to the opinion front because we speak on our own experiences and carry the validity.
Instead of doing a little search of "working mothers and corporate wellness", I hit up Google Scholar, EBSCO, ProQuest. Do you remember those? The ones you had to use to build an annotated bibliography? The articles you had to pull to back up a hypothesis or theory like we talked about above? Yea, there's nada on the working mother/corporate wellness front. So why do working mothers deserve research? Let me tell you...
1. We need to be taken more seriously. Our needs in corporate sector, our rights rather, need to be heard. If "they" whoever "they" is need factual reasons to be accommodating, then they should be provided.
2. Awareness. When people become aware of public health issues, it is because there has either been hype or a study done. So we are looking at both hype and study.
3. Strategy. After a study has been completed, strategy can be developed and implemented. Once the issue has been established we will really understand how to remedy it.
4. Numbers. Putting numbers, percentages, and measurements on data gives life to an issue. Makes it real for the naysayers.
5. Facts vs. Opinion. As mentioned above many of the opinions on the internet are great when it comes to working motherhood, however you don't see companies changing based on opinion.
6. Practicality. It almost requires businesses to do something about the issue. "So wait, my working mothers don't come back because they don't feel supported?" "Wait, 9-6pm shift isn't conducive for a working mom with little support?" "Schools get out at 230? And after school care is 500$ a month?" Yea.... practicality.
7. Voices are heard. When women band together, it's fierce. We can tell a story like no one else and better, we can move mountains. And that movement will be documented.
8. Tools. We will have a better understanding of what we can legally ask for from companies as employees. We'll have the information to present to decision makers on making key changes.
Ambivalence will not be suited for this study. A strong desire to create change. Change the conversation around working motherhood. And what should we study?
Maternal and child mortality linked to workplace health programs or lack thereof.
Maternal burnout linked to returning from maternity leave w/ lack of support.
Postpartum Anxiety linked to the lack of corporate support for the working mother.
We will change the conversation.
Xx, Giana Vasconcellos, MPH, CHHS