When I was on maternity leave (not all that long ago) I came across a US campaign called The Pregnancy Pause. I had heard of this term before whilst speaking to one of my clients about maternity leave rights, but didn’t know it was an actual movement. In a nutshell, it’s a campaign to help new mums explain their baby induced hiatus to prospective employers. The main crux of the argument being that maternity leave is not a holiday or ‘time out,’ but rather it is a full time job and mums should be recognised for this, rather than there being a gap in their CV.
In effect The Pregnancy Pause is a new job title that you can include within your CV or bio on LinkedIn. It was created by Mother New York (an independent creative company) and its aim was to help mums who may have taken a time out from the workforce to take care of their kids. It is especially for mums who took more time than their maternity leave allowed (given in the States you get so little time off and it’s unpaid).
So how does it work then? Well new mums off on maternity leave will click on the “Experience” section of their LinkedIn profiles and add The Pregnancy Pause inside the “Company” field as if it’s their new role. They can make their job title whatever they want and can input their dates of the role and description of what they do in that role. The mums can also include photos of them in their full time role, which is a nice touch.
Have a look at The Pregnancy Pause website and you will see all the resources that this campaign offers. You will also see that there is a cool toolkit too which mums can download. This kit includes a sample CV and lists The Pregnancy Pause as a reference for women to include on their CVs including a US phone number for prospective employers to call if they have any questions. This, in my opinion is genius, as when the prospective employer calls the number they are met with this pre-recorded message; “Hello, you’ve reached The Pregnancy Pause. You must be calling about a candidate’s resume that has mentioned her time spent here. While here, she spent innumerable hours raising a child, which has surely offered her invaluable experience as a prospective employee. Visit our website ThePregnancyPause.org to learn more, and remember, maternity leave is a full-time job.” Oh and don’t I know that.. being back at work often feels easier than being a full time mum (at least I can go to the loo in peace!)
This reminds me of this campaign too by American Greetings #worldstoughestjob. The video shows candidates being interviewed for a new role, aptly named ‘Director of Operations’. In this new role they are told they are entitled to no vacations, no breaks, no sleep, that they have to work 365 days a year, oh and you don’t get paid anything! Take a look at the YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB3xM93rXbY. Again this is another genius campaign and even watching it again now (after about the tenth time) it still brings a tear to my eye! Some strong stuff, that’s for sure and seriously emotional.
But is that it? Are they just good PR campaigns which get people revved up and pull on our emotive heart strings? Or will people really take note and make a change?…
….So my question to you is this: would you include The Pregnancy Pause on your LinkedIn? Is it brave or simply career suicide?