40% of American households believe that it is bad for society if mothers work. Because sexism is a global phenomenon, you might believe this statistic to be universal as well—but it just isn’t. In fact, this kind of maternal bias against women in the workplace is a strictly American phenomenon. Diverse cultures from deeply feminist Iceland to ‘one-child policy’ China simply do not have stay-at-home moms. This interview with Pando Daily founder Sarah Lacy looks at how this staggering statistic manifests itself in the our culture, from the wage gap to maternity leave policy to overt sexism on the job. I ask her about the need to dismantle the patriarchy and her experience of maternal bias in the workplace.
Stories are the first part of culture change. In order to create a new future, part of the process is unearthing all of the stories of what’s happened, and what’s happening. So much of the stories of motherhood and parenting are hidden or silenced, not public. To change the narrative of motherhood, we need to start by first telling the stories of what motherhood looks like, from a place of truth, honesty, and compassion.
You’re the trailblazer we need. The way work looks is broken. It’s not going to change by someone else. It’s going to change through us, building the future we imagine, fighting against what’s not working, and taking as stand. If you can parent, you can entrepreneur. Motherhood transforms you. These, and many more, are the words of wisdom from our first ten interviews for Startup Pregnant.
There is one thing that has disappointed me more about motherhood that I’ve been struggling to to put into words. It reveals the cracks and the gaps in the way we’ve built our society, in the way we culture, in the way we show up for each other.
Why do people constantly caution you about what’s about to get worse? In one of the parenting groups I’m in, we started having a discussion about the phrase we always hear: “Just you wait.”