I remember being in my early 30s and looking around the digital consultancy where I worked. I saw one woman on the board and no mothers in client facing, creative or production roles. I took a really hard look at my life in London and quickly decided it was pretty impossible to have a family and do the kind of job I did, let alone a career in this industry.
I was not alone; the stats are clear – the Careers After Babies report found that 85% of women leave the full-time workforce within three years of having their first child, and 19% leave work completely because businesses aren’t offering the flexibility needed. This 100% resonates with me but my story is slightly different…
I didn’t leave the industry. I made work work for me. Well ‘us’, because this wasn’t just all about me, it was my husband, Stuart, too.
I started Modern with Stuart when we had two children under the age of 3. Our work pattern wasn’t the standard nine-to-five. I was running to nursery to do breast feeds in between meetings and Stuart was working with me part time so I could focus on supporting clients. Evenings were broken up by bath and bedtime, followed by catching up on more work once the children had (finally!) gone to sleep. Like many families, it was crazy. But we did it.
At the time, it made me think that there were so many women like me: good at their jobs, wanting to excel but struggling to find something that works around them and their families.
I vowed to ensure that as we grew Modern, we made it a family friendly organisation and gave mothers the opportunity to come back to work with flexibility and consideration for family life. And we apply the same principles to dads too.
So, I was delighted when I discovered MotherBoard, the brainchild of Sophie Creese. Based locally in Bristol, I found MotherBoard through the B Corp network (for which we are also certified in) and quickly found alignment with guiding principles at Modern.
MotherBoard was founded in 2021 to drive positive, real change for mums working in the UK tech sector and works with organisations to educate, challenge and revolutionise the way companies support mothers at work.
In April 2023, we signed the MotherBoard charter to commit to making real change at Modern. I’d like to think we’re already doing okay, but there’s always room for improvement and so as we continue to work on B Corp commitments, MotherBoard will be a key part of the strategy.
Over the coming months and years, we’ll share what we’re doing to help drive change around gender equality and inclusivity within the technology sector.