Recognise strengths, skills of mums rejoining workforce

Besides this discrimination, the prejudice against mothers who try to rejoin the workforce after leaving their full-time jobs to care for their children is still prevalent.
Besides this discrimination, the prejudice against mothers who try to rejoin the workforce after leaving their full-time jobs to care for their children is still prevalent. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

I read with dismay the report describing the discrimination that expectant mothers face at work (When mums-to-be are not welcome at work, April 7).

Besides this discrimination, the prejudice against mothers who try to rejoin the workforce after leaving their full-time jobs to care for their children is still prevalent.

I resigned from my lecturing job when my children were seven and nine years old to spend more time with them.

At the same time, I started a consultancy business, training companies and schools in business etiquette. I had many repeat clients and I would describe my company as being fairly successful.

So, I did not see myself as a full-time stay-at-home mum, but more a mother with a flexible working schedule.

When my older child started secondary school and my younger progressed to upper primary, they became more independent and needed less supervision.

I felt it was time to rejoin the workforce in a full-time position after having spent quality family time for three years.

However, in my job search these last two years, I faced much discrimination from prospective employers. They were dismissive of my training portfolio and my decade of teaching experience.

Not to be put down by the remarks of these recruiters, I wrote and published a book in 2017 which was distributed at major bookstores and libraries.

Last year, I pursued my postgraduate studies in the hope that this would help with my job search.

But during my interview last month, I again encountered discrimination.

I was told that my skills were obsolete, and was questioned on the credibility of my MBA which happened to be from an accredited UK university.

Although I have been working part time and invested substantially in my postgraduate studies, these were taken lightly by recruiters.

I cannot imagine how much more challenging it would be for a stay-at-home mum who has not furthered her skills and studies to return to the workforce.

Even as the Government urges the return of women to the workforce, the mindset and practices of companies need to change.

Be it mums-to-be, stay-at-home-mums or working mums, these women have vast experiences, skill sets and strengths that ought to be duly recognised in our modern community.

Joy Koh Chi Er (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2019, with the headline 'Recognise strengths, skills of mums rejoining workforce'. Print Edition | Subscribe