There are many reasons why women leave the workforce, with raising children at the top of the list. I’ll admit from personal experience, it is extremely hard to do both. When Asher was born, I left a thriving career. It wasn’t long after that I started taking on consulting gigs and volunteer work part-time. To be the mom I wanted to be, I needed flexibility, options, opportunity, and understanding. I also needed childcare. This combination was extremely hard to find, so I opted to continue as an entrepreneur, but currently working at about half the capacity as my pre-baby self.
I’m not alone. Nearly 75% of women who have left their careers do so to take care of children, and amazingly 90% of these women want back in at the right time. Yet, only 40% are able to actually gain full-time work. That means the workforce is losing out on amazing talent–women. And then we end up with numbers like this–only 6% of Fortune 500 companies are run by women.
Women and mothers are not set up for success in the workplace. To start, the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not have paid family leave. Thankfully, some companies are taking matters into their own hands, adding maternity and paternity leave, subsidizing childcare, creating in-house childcare, and setting up pumping rooms.
Enter Jessica Jackson, founder of The Nest. This single mom of 4 kids – aged 4, 6, 8, and 10, is intimately acquainted with the challenges of parenthood, the workplace, and childcare. When she and I met for lunch, Jessica was two weeks into her nanny quitting with no notice given. Yet, she wasn’t slowing down.
Jessica has her eyes on disrupting the daycare industry which hasn’t been touched in decades. Her start-up is dreamy. After you read our interview below, imagine what your life as a new mom/parent would have been like with this type of support system. And imagine all of the future moms, families, and companies who will be positively impacted.
What is your professional background? I’m trained in environmental engineering but have spent the last 8 years as a UX design and data-backed strategy consultant for venture backed startups across a host of disciplines, but my favorites are energy and healthcare.
What inspired The Nest? You read that I have 4 kids and I’m in tech, right? Having a nursing baby and putting them in daycare sucks.
How is The Nest a game changer?
- No more arriving late to work – quick pick-up and drop-off with Baby Valet
- No more pumping at your office – nurse your baby at work with Baby-On-Demand
- No more missing your baby desperately – with Baby Techie you can video chat your little one
- No more worrying about juggling work deadlines and daycare schedules – with dropoff freedom anytime between 6am and 8pm
What does female talent loss in the workplace mean? It’s hard to focus on just a few statistics here because the gender equality gap is ridiculous. Women earn 80% of the money men earn for the same jobs, the rate of women in computing peaked in 1991, we’re severely less likely to be executives (11% of executive positions in the valley) and we account for just 5% of all startup founders.
Combine the gender pay gap with invisible workload mothers carry of tending for the home and the children and you have a situation precipitating female talent loss. It’s no wonder 40% of us leave the workforce to care for our children full time and we quit tech at twice the rate of men.
Where do you see The Nest in five years? The Nest has a vision to change the business landscape for women in this country. I’ll tell you it’s not just about daycare, but you’ll have to watch and see to find out what we do next.
While launching this business, what commitments are you making to yourself to live a balanced life? We all have the same 24 hours and most of my hours are committed to The Nest or the children and I’m committed to carving out REGULAR pieces for myself, even if they’re tiny. I work out for 10 minutes every morning, it’s enough to make me sweat and get my day going. I spend an hour reading and an hour writing, every morning. And, most importantly, I spend at least 8.5 hrs in bed every night. Then, I give myself grace to fail. When, I fail to workout or sleep or write, I acknowledge the lack of discipline that led to the failure, give myself grace and choose again the next day.