016: The Penalties of Being a Working Mom with Erica Ballard, Life Coach for Women Who Work

Erica Ballard

During the pandemic nearly 2.5 million women left the workforce and 1 in 3 mothers were considering leaving or downshifting their career. Being a working mom comes with penalties and biases, many subtle and easy to present as “concern” for the woman. With working moms making up 32% of all employed women in 2018, we need to take a closer look at the bias they experience in the workforce.

Podcast guest, Erica Ballard, Life Coach for Women Who Work, walks us through the horrific stats of the uphill battle working moms face, including motherhood penalties and biases. Not only are working moms 100% less likely to be promoted but they earn $11,000 less than their childless peers and fathers.
Erica offers a strategy to tease out bias and provides ways to be your own advocate at work. She also reveals the mental shift she made and how she decided she’s playing a different game where she writes the rules.

Key Highlights:
  • 1 in 3 women are considering leaving or downshifting their career and 2 in 5 new moms will leave the workforce 
  • Losing a mom within the first year of motherhood will cost a company $92,000.
  • 75% of expectant mothers are excited to return to work but 43% of them end up leaving.
  • Examples of “motherhood penalties” – 79% less likely to be hired, 100% less likely to be promoted, and make on average $11,000 less than their childless peers or fathers.
  • Maternal wall bias: people believe you are less committed and as a result, less competent at work.
  • Bias can be subtle such as assuming new mothers will check out when they come back to work or not offering them new projects (none of which is discussed directly with the woman).
  • Maybe you don’t want the promotion. What do you want your life to look like? 
  • Ask for some reviews (even if it’s off-cycle) to understand what your employer needs and/or expects from you. This can also help you understand where there is some bias.
  • How women can be their own champions – determine what you want your like to look like, who do you have to be to be and show up as that person. You may have to switch jobs or careers (but do the internal work first).
  • Do it your way and go have fun as you do it. Everything is made up.
    Links Mentioned:

    Instagram: @iamericaballard

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    Full Bio:

    Meet Erica Ballard.  A woman who thought pinstripe suits, a size 4 body, and a corner office were the markings of success. But, after chasing those things, Erica realized that none of that stuff would make her happy (like, really happy). Because, as it turns out, her version of success looked much different than what she was conditioned to believe it should look like. After accepting that truth and honoring her own, Erica now lives a life she loves and is on a mission to help other women do the same through life coaching, women-focused workshops, and social media. Learn more about her at