These are the best of times where women are a dynamic factor in the workforce.

It’s interesting though, that the rallying call amongst working mothers is not for greater upward mobility, but rather for greater balance between work and family life.

The call is soft and muted, though, because, in reality, these women are between a rock and a hard place.

Why so passive?

In writing for the online publication Working Mother, Jennifer Parris says women are passive when it comes to advancing their careers or asking for pay in line with their job responsibilities.

You have to ask yourself why? What underlying reasons exist to prevent women from being more proactive in the workplace?

Working mothers are underpaid.

Money is an issue, but while a high percentage of women (63%) feel they are underpaid and unhappy about it, they are reluctant to ask for more.

Career advancement is another source of dissatisfaction amongst women in the workplace, and yet a very small percentage of women ask for a meeting with a higher up to discuss getting ahead.

Be bold or nothing will happen

Honestly, it’s not a matter of deserving higher pay or a promotion. But, most companies operate like Black Friday at the mall. If you want something you have to grab it.

You have to make the request.

It’s understandable I suppose. Companies guard the bottom line and will take advantage where they can. Classes in Compassion and Fairness in the workplace are typically not offered in most business schools.

I wonder sometimes if women are shy, inexperienced, or, actually fighting an internal battle to avoid more responsibility at work because it would mean disrupting an already shaky balance between work and family?

What working women consider success

If I had to land somewhere on the issue, it would be there.

Parris’ article states that a “whopping 89% of respondents to a survey said they defined career success as the flexibility to balance family life and work.”

Managing a family and keeping a 9-5 means that working mothers have two equally big jobs. I’m guessing about the underlying conflicts on the issues of self- promotion, but given how women clearly and unequivocally define success, I’m surely not far afield.

I’m curious what do you think? Are you with the 89%?

If you’re looking to advance in your job, Parris has some good tips on how best to prepare and improve your chances to move up.

How does an unfulfilling job affect success?

If it’s true that a sizeable majority of working mothers are settling for unfulfilling, even unpleasant careers it’s not a stretch to conclude that dissatisfaction at work impacts your family life as well.

It doesn’t take much to upset whatever delicate balance you have managed to achieve in blending family life with your job when the two collide.

So, if you are a member of the 89% club the choice is yours. Either pick your moment, gather your courage and approach the boss requesting what you want, or settle for whatever they give you and hang out in quiet desperation.

A much better option

Actually, there is a third option. Start researching small business ideas for women and make a plan to come out from that uncomfortable space between the rock and the wall and start a small business.

Women all over are doing it and in a lot of cases beating the bowties off of their male counterparts. It is something we are well suited to do by nature because we are compassionate, communicators, and, relationship builders. We can hire the numbers people if we need to.

It worked for me as I have been at it for almost 20 years. Being unhappy in a job and thinking I could somehow maintain a happy atmosphere at home was never going to happen.

If 89% of working women define success as being able to strike a harmonious balance between a day job and their night job of managing a family, where do you stand in that equation?

Are you a working mum who has demanded a pay rise? Share your comments below.

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  • there is equality in pays and no gender wage gaps, i just want to add. You also need to show why you are worth the pay rise, what do you bring to the table? so to speak


  • All my jobs have been standard rates. We’re all underpaid equally!


  • I have been bold and succeeded – I assumed the worst case scenario would be a no. However, it was a yes – sometimes you just have to take the risk and be bold and ask for what you deserve.It is better to know than to wonder in so many situations. Go for what you deserve and want in life.


  • No, I haven’t needed to demand a pay rise. When I accused an employer of underpaying us, it went to tribunal and he had to pay me a bit of money. Then he sacked me


  • Where I worked we were all paid the award rates, the same regardless of sex.
    I applied for a different position within the same department. Yes the work was harder and more responsible but the arrangement was I was on probation for that position only for 2 months. If I was unable to do it I would have my original positon back as one of the other girls was leaving then. I didn’t expect to get a pay rise until I was past probation. I obviously went beyond probation pretty quickly as I got a surprise pay rise 2 weeks later.


  • It is so frustrating to read and see that women are still undervalued. Doing the same job as a man but being paid less just cos she’s a woman. IS SO WRONG!

    • Yes, but there are options. You can be bold and request equal compensation if you feel that the quality and timeliness of your work warrants it, or, better yet, you can start your own business and make a living on your own terms.


  • Illness has caused me to stop working.


  • it is actually quite hard to set up your own business.

    • It may seem out of reach, but you CAN do it. Starting a business takes hard work, but anything worthwhile does.

      Thank you for reading and commenting on the article.

      Happy New Year!


  • No I’m not a working mum. i stopped working when we got kids. But before kids I certainly faught for work conditions and salary.


  • I asked for better working conditions and was told no. I left.

    • I hope you found a much better situation.



  • I quit my job after a long and loved 16yrs service. I am going to be looking for a role closer to home. When it comes to working mothers and then they stop working, I told my partner as I am now working at home raising the kids, he should be contributing to my super :) kinda kidding, but would be a tops idea!

    • Thank you. I did the very same thing when my third child was born. My husband actually supported (invested in) the small business idea I proposed, and it’s the best thing I ever did for my family.

      After all, if you do a poor job raising the kids, nothing else matters. Would you agree?

      All the best,


  • I agree with your article,be bold or nothing will happen! You have to make it happen!

    • Feel confident. I am sure you are a valued employee. Ask for what you deserve. If by chance you don’t receive it, start looking for a way to start a small business on your own. Women everywhere are doing it.


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