A Women's Path Back To Work

author/source: Rachel Weinstein

IReLaunch_A_Path_Back_To_WorkCarol Fishman Cohen - IReLaunch Founder

IreLaunch-LogoiRelaunch Return to Work Greater Boston hosts a weekly in real-life meet up for professionals who stayed home to care for a child/parent/themselves and are blueprinting a path back to work. We provide support to each other in the transition from caregiving to employment as well as host a speaker series where caregivers can gain strategies to return to the workforce. To date, we have hosted CEOs, hiring managers and recruiters. The speakers share game plans to chart a return to paid employment. If you would like to speak to our group, our next opening is January 10th. For more information, please email [email protected] or join the iRelaunch Return to Work Greater Boston Facebook group. Answering the questions is mandatory for admittance to the group. We also have an advocacy component. One of our policy goals is to have caregivers be legislatively mandated as a group in the Work Opportunity Tax Credit; this would be a wonderful carrot and stick for companies to hire qualified caregivers who left the workforce and are eager to return and contribute their skills. We need to change the “red flag” mindset when there is a gap in a candidate’s resume. As a society, we cannot afford to have daycare cost five figures then economically punish (primarily) women when they opt to leave and then face barriers to return.  This could be one policy that could change this mentality and mindset so professionals who have so much to contribute are not left sitting on the sidelines? 

FlexProfessional shared the statistic that there are 35,000 women in Greater Boston and 2,500,000 in the United States between the ages of 25-55 not in the paid workforce. These numbers tell a very powerful story. I started the group iRelaunch Return to Work Greater Boston to better understand those numbers because I am one of those digits. My personal story - I was working in a public school system at the top of the union pay scale when my son was hospitalized with a rare disease at eight months old. He was on breathing and feeding tubes for a month at Mass General Hospital. Luckily he survived. That experience compiled with sticker and quality shock of daycares sealed the deal on becoming a stay-at-home mom which I truly value and appreciate. I ran a small business while home, but now need a position that would keep up with the cost of living in Massachusetts.

In 2011, I enrolled my (now) two kids in school and hit a brick wall while searching for a position commensurate with my experience. After attending numerous networking events dominated by individuals who did not “get” my situation, I posted on the national iRelaunch Return to Work Forum and started a Boston meetup group. The Boston group evolved into a weekly speaker series attended by a highly accomplished group of men and women proactively mapping a path back into the professional arena. Claire Cain Miller said it best in her New York Times article 'The Costs of Motherhood Are Rising', and 'Catching Women Off Guard', “For many women, the researchers show, stopping work was unplanned. It is deeply puzzling that at a moment when women are more prepared than ever for long careers in the labor market, norms would change in a manner that encourages them to spend more time at home. Generations of girls have been told they can achieve anything they aspire to, including having both a career and children — and many women have done so. But at the same time, both work and parenting have become more demanding. The result is that women’s expectations seem to be outpacing the realities of public policy, workplace culture and family life.” This is my one small action to bridge these gaps.

Rachel Weinstein
Are you looking to get back in the workforce?  Join the iRelaunch Boston Facebook Group HERE