I am currently doing my PhD at the University of Auckland on the topic of Motherhood and Leadership, contrasting some of the very human experiences of motherhood with idealised perspectives of leadership.

I begun this journey after returning to work when my son was a year old where I encountered things that were considered ‘normal’ parts of being a mum, a worker and a leader that made it really difficult for me to feel like I was doing any of those things effectively.

What I found, as I began with the existing research, was that we have a lack of women in senior leadership positions and, more often, women are taking on lower-status, part-time work or exiting the workforce altogether when they become mothers. Yet, there is very little research that explores Motherhood AND Leadership together.

My topic has really resonated though. When I advertised for research participants, I had over 100 registrations of interest from mothers or were in leadership roles or had aspirations to be. I was able to conduct 8 focus groups around New Zealand (in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch) and 9 interviews. All up, a total of 48 participants.

These were some pretty powerful conversations, that I now get to analyse and use to shed some light on greater opportunities for women entering and sustaining leadership positions. The plan is to have results to officially share in mid-22. In the meantime, you can follow my blog, Facebook, or Instagram pages or the Motherhood and Leadership LinkedIn group where I share thoughts as the research process unfolds.

I believe that my research has so much potential to support gender equality for the benefit of a whole lot of people, not just mothers.

You can support my research by:

  • Having me to speak at your event or your workplace
  • Having an informal chat with me about how my research might be relevant for your workplace