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. I hope that the conversations that I have had can shed some light on greater opportunities for women entering and sustaining leadership positions. I hope to have some results I can officially share in mid-22. In the meantime, you can follow my blog, Facebook, or Instagram pages 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 or parents.
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