IPG creative agency MullenLowe is helping mothers get back into the workforce with the launch of a new program, “Momternships.” The 10-week internship program is designed to support moms who want to return to work by way of mentorship, coaching, networking and on-the-job training.
The initiative seeks to center the experiences of working mothers to address how they have been disproportionately impacted in the workforce, both historically and today.
For a bit of background, an estimated 1.1 million women left the workforce during the pandemic, making women’s participation in the paid labor force the lowest it has been in almost a century. As many women who left work to care for their families navigate the road back, they are met with obstacles. According to the fifth annual Modern Family Index from Bright Horizons, 72% of working parents agree that women are penalized in their careers for starting families while most men are not.
The idea was a reaction by creative director and Momternship co-founder Kris Mangini Thompson, who took a pause from her advertising career several years ago to focus on her family. After a while, she decided she wanted to try something new and applied for several entry-level jobs, all of which dismissed her and labeled her as overqualified.
“I was a creative person long before I was a mom; however, as a parent, the instinct to solve shifted me into hyperdrive,” said Mangini in a statement. “That’s when I realized that professional moms were a blind spot that demanded a solution. I thought, what if we could remove the convention of what qualifies someone for a job and call it an opportunity? And rather than calling someone overqualified, call them superqualified. I shared the idea with MullenLowe, and that’s how the Momternship program was born.”
Momternships do not require relevant work experience or an explanation of a gap in a resume. Mothers of all backgrounds and levels of experience are encouraged to apply at the Momternships website.
“As we round the corner on Covid-19, we are inviting moms who want to experience the field of marketing communications to return to the workforce with the empathy, flexibility and support they deserve,” said Erica Samadani, Momternship co-founder and executive director of PR at MullenLowe in a statement.
The program also aims to rally other companies and organizations to open their doors to mothers. To bring this to life, MullenLowe partnered with HeyMama, a growing online community of entrepreneurial and working moms, to co-develop a Momternship Toolkit that can be downloaded by any company from the program’s microsite.
“Of the women who stopped working during the pandemic, 82% could not afford to be out of work. The time is now to stop penalizing women for stepping away to care for their families and recognize the strengths moms bring to the workplace,” said Erika Feldhus, CEO of HeyMama in a statement. “We’re thrilled to partner with MullenLowe on this breakthrough program—and we hope that other employers take note and begin to recognize the skills mothers bring to the table because we are mothers, not in spite of it.”