Home / Venture  / The journey to finding the solution for mums in the workplace

The journey to finding the solution for mums in the workplace

Mela Lush, Founder of job platform Jobs for Mums, talks revolutionising the workplace to better fit the evolved lifestyle of mums, or better yet, parents in the lead up to International Women’s Day on March 8.

The idea for the platform Jobs for Mums first came about when Lush had her two children.

As a career-driven woman, Lush was commuting around 130kms a day to get to work, but becoming a mum, forced a rethink, as she wanted to spend more time with her daughter.

Examining her priorities, she realised that her previous lifestyle didn’t “sit right” any more.

“We need to have something that allows people to not have to choose between being a parent and having a career,” says Lush.

This prompted her to start her own platform as a solution to a problem she and many other parents were facing.

“I created this whole business in my living room while looking after my babies,” she explained.

“I did some market testing, and so the way that I launched it, I put it on Facebook mum groups, and within a few hours, I had over 1500 messages from people saying that this had to happen, and that this was their experience, and that this would really help thousands of families because the cost of living was so crazy, and people wanted to go back to work, but the way that we were working was not working for them.”

When she first started, Lush was not aware of the bigger picture that parents would be on the same boat as her.

“What we know now, and what I knew then, but I didn’t know how bad, was that motherhood is a significant factor in how women participate in paid work,” she says.

“We know that women are likely to restructure their work arrangements or withdraw from the labour market while caring for independent children.”

But it’s not just about the lifestyle balances that come with parenthood, says Lush, but also the wage gap that arises.

Read more: Work trends for 2024

Lush explains that the wage gap becomes evident post-children, where the gap is driven by unconscious bias and misconceptions that women become less motivated and dedicated because of their shift in focusing on children.

“Known as the part-time penalty, you can see across the board, those roles tend to be paid less and valued less,” she says.

Mela Lush.

“We know that according to the Ministry of Women report, that 55 percent of low-income mothers, 40 percent of mothers with school or post-school qualifications, and 30 percent of tertiary degree, and mothers are underemployed or unemployed a decade after their first child. So, it’s really important to note that it’s not just employment, it’s underemployment as well.”

Her platform found immediate success, and three months following the launch, Lush won an award for her social impact.

Now her platform is clocking around 17,000 candidates since her launch in 2021.

“It is really important for us to create new pathways into especially underrepresented sectors,” adds Lush.

But creating a platform for mothers is not the only thing Lush is passionate about. It is also about advocating for better workplaces for parents, or better yet, “family friendly”.

“What that is, is actually looking internally within each organisation and looking at how you can offer a win-win to your people, so that both the business benefits and also the people benefit as well,” she explains.

Whether that be great flexibility, leave policies, small or big, it is all about improving the workplace.

“What we say instead is that we are trying to fix the system that makes it impossible to do that balance, because I don’t want more tips on how to balance work and family. I want a solution.”

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

Review overview