Thrive Event Encourages Women Not to Revert "Back to Normal"

When the women who attend Thrive events come together, it’s extremely powerful. Even through a virtual platform, their passion to create an environment where women can excel personally and professionally is always contagious.

The most recent Thrive session was no exception. We heard from Janet Bates, Client Solutions Manager with JE Dunn Construction Company about how COVID-19 didn’t break anything… it simply exposed uncomfortable truths. She also provided an informative update on the issues our society faces in the workplace, school and childcare.

While we’re all dreaming of the days before COVID-19 when things were “normal,” the fact of the matter is, “normal” was not okay.

“In our rush to get back to normal, we are going to miss the opportunity to fix what’s broken.”

Janet Bates

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of flexibility in today’s workforce has been revealed, which makes it hard for families juggling all of their priorities at once to be successful.

Most schools are in a hybrid or virtual learning environment and families are being forced to work from home themselves, while also tacking on stay-at-home teacher to their list of responsibilities.

Because of this, more than 865,000 women are leaving the workforce – and the trickle effect is a real thing.

Women have been bearing an oversized portion of the domestic workload for a long time, but at least we could share some of that burden with teachers, babysitters, grandmas and friends. But now that we’ve lost access to that, those inequities have become more stark.

Janet Bates

Janet refers to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, highlighting that for his diagram to work, you must satisfy the bottom before we can access the top.

She relates it to Leslie Forde’s Mom’s Hierarchy of Needs, where it’s okay to step outside of the ‘Mom box’ they’re all expected to fit in. This hierarchy of needs helps moms visualize why it’s so challenging to make time for self-care, interests and healthy relationships with other adults, while also raising kids. This hierarchy is a way to think about how and why moms spend their time as they do.

Just like Maslow’s Hierarchy, the foundational items at the bottom need to be met before we can reach the goals at the top.

For moms to enjoy self-care and self-interests, they need to ensure their children’s well-being is met.

In South Carolina, 15% of low-income parents discuss that their employment is affected by childcare issues.

Janet Bates

Childcare should typically only be about 7-10% of your income. Currently, childcare is taking 21.4%, on average, of the income of South Carolina families. Janet also said that South Dakota and Wyoming are the only two affordable childcare states…anyone ready to move?

We’ve decided that we don’t value early childhood care and education in the same way as we support education over 5 and elder care– this isn’t a mom issue, but an economic issue.

Janet Bates

Here are some key actions that Janet highlighted to overcome childcare & work inequities:

Thank you, Janet, for leading this virtual conversation around finding a new normal that means equity for women, and especially mothers, to have the best opportunities to succeed.

To view the full Thrive event, visit

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