Housing21 International Women's Day live webinar

On International Women’s Day, we partnered with Housing 21 to deliver a webinar focusing on the challenges faced by women at work after maternity, and steps that managers can take to successfully re-engage the company’s maternity returners.


Written by Dr Emma Waltham | Maternity Returners Expert

Housing 21 is a leading not-for-profit provider of retirement living and extra care properties. As part of its International Women’s Day 2022 programme of virtual events, Housing 21 wanted a maternity returner specialist to present a Q&A session, so that managers in the organisation understand the challenges faced by returning mums, how that impacts on the gender pay gap and what they as managers can do to help women successfully re-engage after parenthood. The webinar was designed to tie in with the International Women’s Day theme of #BreakTheBias to raise awareness of the challenges faced by women at work after maternity, so that managers understand the impact of parenthood on women’s careers. Housing 21 wanted to focus on how participants can help women in the organisation have a positive experience when they go through the maternity transition, so that new mums stay and continue their career progression. The Event We delivered a live, interactive 30-minute session by zoom video conferencing to 46 Housing 21 colleagues. The webinar covered:

  • The lived experience of women in the workplace when they go through the maternity transition, including the biases that impact on their re-engagement, confidence and progression.

  • Evidence that shows what is happening to women today, to help managers and colleagues understand the importance of supporting returners on retention and how barriers to participation impact on the gender pay gap.

  • Ideas for how participants can successfully blend their own working lives with parenthood, so that they feel understood and to emphasise that Housing 21 is an organisation that values returning mums.

  • How to ease the transition back into work, from the perspective of women returners, colleagues and managers/HR.

The presentation was followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. Some of these questions explored how a workplace community can help to raise a child, how somebody can challenge some more out-dated opinions towards returning to work and what the impact of maternity bias is on single parent or same sex relationships in the workplace. The session was recorded by Housing 21 and will be used as part of the company’s future bias training suite. What the Client Says John Simmonds, Respect & Inclusion Lead at Housing21, comments:


"I really look forward to getting to work with Emma – I have done on a couple of occasions now. One of the recurring themes I have found in my career in equality, diversity and inclusion is that of fear: people are often afraid of the subject as they don’t want to get anything wrong or inadvertently offend. However, none of this matters one jot with Emma, because she puts everyone so completely at ease and respects her audience enormously. Having Emma talk to us has elicited a really strong response, with dozens of people wanting access to the recording. Thanks to this session we have some of the tools we need to help create an empathetic, supportive and inclusive working culture."

Let's work together Drop me a message to start a conversation about how we can ensure women in your organisation have a positive experience when they go through the maternity transition, returning to work engaged and motivated to continue their career progression.

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