Imagine you are a ball facing a ladder. Your goal is to climb up the ladder to reach the other balls resting on the branches of the tree. You manage to climb the first few steps, however, as you go higher, one of the steps has a broken rung, making it impossible for you to climb up, leaving you with no room for better opportunities. This analogous obstacle is a common occurrence in businesses and is often called as “The Broken Rung.”

Despite modern society continuously propagating equality, there remains a notable gap in the discourse surrounding the intersectionality of motherhood and female leadership, especially when climbing up the corporate ladder, hence, they often deal with the broken rung. The Women in Business 2024 report reveals that senior management roles occupied by women were held by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO), at merely 19% and 17%, respectively. Other senior management roles in the data also fall within the range of 5% to 39%, which indicates that there is a significant drop in the proportion of women in leadership positions. The said report says that in some cases, women, specifically those who are mothers and woman leaders at the same time, were not able to reach that certain percentage in attaining senior management roles due to the struggles of balancing roles between a leader and a mother. 

While it is remarkable that we have a high ranking in terms of women taking on senior management roles, efforts to achieve parity regarding the representation of mothers in executive roles must be modified, given that mothers possess unique abilities that are applicable to the business sector. For instance, mothers are multitaskers in everything they do. They are often role models for others due to their adeptness at time management and ability to discern the most subtle complexities within a given task. Mothers are often perceived as having an ideal obligation to provide care for their children; when they inevitably resume employment, this obligation is then transferred to the business world and its prospects for achievement.

In an article from Key Search, working mothers, whether they partake in leadership roles or not, bring their skills to their careers that they have developed and perfected in their lives as moms. Before the admission to the Partnership, I was already a mother. As a mother, I am obligated to be very meticulous regarding my children's day-to-day needs and activities to ensure that they are safe and nurtured.  When I acquired the position of partner, I incorporated these intricacies into my work. Every decision is critical, and to prevent errors in the business, every detail must be examined. These two highly important roles widened my perspective and enabled me to notice both the slightest details and the grandest of things. Additionally, multitasking and time management became needed skills for me. I consistently maintain a meticulously planned routine because my professional obligations no longer benefit my family and colleagues at the firm but contribute to the improvement of other families. My experiences prove that support and additional opportunities for mothers to maintain executive positions would ultimately contribute to the success of businesses, as mothers possess certain distinctive qualities. This solidifies research that shows that there are certain skills that working moms in senior management roles apply:

Team Players

Support is the greatest gift that one could ever bestow upon a mother. My family, fortunately, encourages and supports me in all that I undertake. They provide assistance in taking care of the children, thereby mitigating the subsequent challenges that arise. At work, being a team player is crucial for sustaining personal relationships. Transparency, cooperation, and trust should exist for both parties to foster a more positive work environment for all.

Active Listeners

It is imperative that they incorporate the development of healthy boundaries into their daily lives. Implementing this policy in the workplace ensures that every employee's concern, no matter how minor, is acknowledged, comprehended, and an action is generated. Actively listening to an employee's concerns can contribute to their professional development.

Crisis Managers

Difficulties within the household are unavoidable. Preserving composure in the face of such situations, whether at home or at the office, is a fundamental ability that mothers possess as female leaders. Mothers assume leadership roles in both domains because their children and their employees turn to them for counsel and prudence.

Diplomatic Leaders

Lastly, it has been demonstrated that female leaders with children are diplomatic leaders in any industry they are in. In addition to finding solutions that work for all, maintaining a sense of authority while being attuned to the concerns of all employees while keeping a level head are unquestionably abilities that each mother has perfected at home.   

Motherhood does not diminish the leadership capabilities of women; on the contrary, it serves to enrich and fortify the qualities that render them effective leaders. In order to assist the business as a leader, a mother must first be supported as a parent. It is delightfully noticeable that the Firm has consistently demonstrated its commitment to these concerns by offering remedies for mothers who encounter them. The Firm maintained an unbiased stance towards gender when it came to promoting individuals. Rather than considering their gender, they prioritized their qualifications and accomplishments. With their help and aid, in return, our tasks as working mothers are to not only serve more people in practice but also provide them with care and an environment conducive to development, just as we do for our children.


As published in The Manila Times, dated 10 April 2024