We were honoured to interview Allison Venditti of Moms at Work to talk to her about how pay equity is changing in Canada. As dads with daughters, sisters, mothers or female partners, it's important we understand and learn about why this is important and how we can support: e
Daddy's Digest: Tell us about moms at work and why you started it.
Moms at Work wasn't supposed to happen – I was a happy career coach and doing my thing when I kept looking around myself at women's groups and not feeling seen. All the women I knew who were bad asses were mothers but they weren't on stage and all the events were at 4:30pm (hi daycare pick up) so I thought you know what I am going to get some amazing women from all industries and see what happens. For a long time it was just about 300 people.
But what I also knew was that women who were changing careers, roles etc are extremely isolated within our jobs. If you want to be a nurse and you are an accountant how do you learn about that. Moms at Work is that place – there are no dumb questions, we are supportive, kind and ready to support. It is the professional network I always needed and never had.
DD: What's happened recently at Moms at Work? Tell us all about what this exciting time means!
Moms at Work changed what Facebook groups could do – we met with the Prime Minister, we have advocated successfully for changes, we have done over 100 media articles in a year and because of the pandemic we have more to do. Now Moms at Work has become the world's first professional association for working mothers – for all mothers. Professional associations have lost their way a bit and many don't do any advocacy work. They are supposed to make change for their members to be a unified voice. Moms at Work is here to level up what professional associations can do.
As my coffee mug says – underestimate me – that'll be fun.
DD: Why do you think 'Moms at Work' is important for dads?
I think that at our core Moms at Work is strongly working towards pay equity and pay transparency which benefits everyone. I always say – it isn't pie – just because one person gets something there isn't any for others. When women make more money nothing bad happens. Families save more, can buy more, can be more secure. I think that there is huge financial and emotional burdens placed on fathers that often goes unrecognized – and we work extensively with authors like Eve Rodsky and other experts to talk about family dynamics and how we can shift them. I think that we have a lot of work to do but money is top of our agenda!
DD: What do you think other countries have to learn from Canada?
Moms at Work does a lot of work with advocacy groups in the US who are currently fighting for any paid leave which is heartbreaking to watch. I think that universal daycare for Canada will be such an incredible win – I can not believe how much that announcement impacted me – to watch our first female finance minister present a budget with a black mother on the front of it and announce universal childcare – this is the stuff of advocacy dreams. No lie.
We are leaders in maternal mental health although we are working hard to make legislative changes – Mount Sinai, perinatal mental health and project like Pandemic Pregnancy are excellent examples of how we are moving and supporting so many people.
DD: What do you think Canada still needs to improve on when it comes to parental rights?
EI needs to be changed. It is an antiquated system that was created in a very different time. EI needs to include the opportunity to have Keep In Touch Days – 15 days where parents can work on a project, finish up a team report or transition back to work part time while not losing their EI like they do in the UK.
I think that we need to make NDAs illegal for companies who discriminate against pregnant women and those with young kids. By not allowing us to talk about them and forcing us to sign NDAs it allows big companies to continue to hold us hostage as employees.
I think that EI for self employed folks is completely inaccessible and makes no sense – so we are excited to be involved with some of those changes.
Paid leave for miscarriage and infant loss should be implemented immediately.
And in a shameless plug – I have created return to work programs for almost 15 years – companies do an abysmal job of supporting their staff and creating cohesive policies for maternity and paternity leave. Moms at Work has created a parental leave management program that will help smooth out policies and create cohesive processes – I created it and thought to myself wow I should have done this 15 years ago and saved 1000s of parents the headache of trying to navigate EI, returning to work, and coordinating things so much sooner!