Thursday, 16 June 2011

New award aims to celebrate working mum champions

Do you know of someone in your place of work or company who has made a big difference to working mums? Perhaps you have a colleague or an employee who has set up a parents' forum at work or a manager who has come up with specific initiatives which benefit working mums?

If so, is looking for you.

They are asking employees to nominate stand-out individuals who they believe have made a difference to their lives for our Working Mums Champion Award. Potential recipients of this Award includes senior or middle managers who have done any of the following or have made a difference to working mums' lives in some other way:

- Set up a parent support forum
- Put forward innovative proposals for areas such as maternity leave and return to work
- Introduced mentoring schemes for women
- Championed the recruitment and retention of working mums through specific initiatives, going beyond standard company policy.

Gillian Nissim, who is the founder of, says: “Workingmums believes these people must be celebrated. Again and again we have been told that company policy and practice can only go so far in promoting measures such as flexible working which make it possible for working parents to balance work and family life. A major role is played by individual managers and colleagues in helping to create a culture which gets the best out of staff.” has featured examples of such individuals, including Caroline Artis, a partner at Ernst & Young, who set up the firm’s Parents’ Network to help mums on maternity leave reintegrate better into the workplace after she came back to work in 2005.

She describes the Parents’ Network as being an important extension of the type of networking that naturally happens for parents at home – whether through ante-natal classes or at the school gate. “The Parents’ Network allows people who have lost day to day contact with such networks through their return to work to share their concerns and support each other in the workplace,” she says.

Another example is Claire Morley-Jones of hr180, a human resources business, who offers all her staff an individual working pattern. Employees can also bring children into the office in emergencies and when children fall ill the business can flexibly arrange work around them and their mothers. There is a laptop set up with access to Cbeebies, games and colouring books on offer for those children needing to drop in.

“We have doubled our turnover in the last two years,” says Morley-Jones. “We are not just a namby pamby bunch of girls. We can show that this way of working does make a difference.”

If you know someone who is making a big impact to the lives of working mums, click here to nominate them for the award and celebrate their achievements. More details:

(EDITOR: SHOULD parents be encouraged to take their children to work? What do YOU think?)

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