12 Apr Why I Value Working Mothers
Can you handle the truth? Editor of CHILD Magazines Karen Miles asks.
Today I read an online story that made inaccurate statements targeting CHILD Magazines and myself, accusing us both of devaluing mothers. We do live in a society that undervalues mums and their work, but at CHILD Mags we think differently.
This began because I posted a job opportunity on my personal Facebook discussing an editorial assistant role available at CHILD that would be suitable for a new graduate or a mum looking to return to the workforce. The author of the online story presumed this meant we don’t value mothers’ skills.
I’m sad that this blogger chose to criticise my post under the guise of news, journalism and forwarding the feminist conversation. So here is the truth.
- The blogger didn’t check her facts. She took some words I posted and added her own meaning to them. She didn’t attempt to contact me or check what I meant or intended.
- The blogger passed off a personal Facebook post to my private group of friends as an official statement from my employer. It was not.
- The blogger has known me for many years and therefore knows that I value women and mothers – my decades of work are my track record. She also acknowledges the same of our publication by calling our magazine ‘prestigious’. The 26 years of CHILD supporting women speaks for itself.
Had the blogger contacted me, she would have gotten the facts, but the facts aren’t sexy.
- The reason I said the editorial assistant role would suit a graduate or a mum looking to return to the workforce is this: if I have a choice between hiring a 20-year-old recent graduate or a parent to work on a parenting publication, I’ll choose a parent, for what I hope would be obvious reasons. Once hired, I acknowledge that parent’s wisdom, experience and skills with opportunities to thrive beyond their job title.
- There’s no social hierarchy in this company. Those who choose to work in editorial assistant roles are not ‘scraps’. Many people around the country are career admin assistants who like their jobs, are good at it and are vital to the functioning of the team.
- A large proportion of women working at CHILD Magazines don’t work traditional 9 to 5 full-time hours, including me, and my publisher.
- Our current Editorial Assistant is a mum of four who returned to the workplace with CHILD Magazines after 14 years with her children. She actively pursued this role with me because she saw this as an exciting, meaty opportunity to get her foot in the door of a highly competitive media industry. She does not feel devalued, and she isn’t viewed or treated as any less or any more than any other member of my editorial team. She’s actively encouraged to use all her skills and to shape the job to suit her as expansively as she wishes. I assigned her first feature assignment two weeks into the job.
The irony is that this company is friendly to mothers. Our publisher is a grandmother who sets a strict ‘go home at 5pm’ policy, something relatively few businesses genuinely offer. We offer carer’s leave within sick leave – so there’s no pretending it’s you who’s sick when it’s really your kids.
In our seven person editorial team:
- Editor has two days free per month
- Digital Editor works 25 hours per week
- Digital Content Producer works 3 days per week
The roles are open to flexibility and job sharing. Half the roles in our Sydney office and in our Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth offices are part-time. Some come in for 10 days a month, or two days a week, or go home at 2pm.
For me, the only thing this blogger did get right was calling CHILD Magazines ‘prominent’. The reason we are the preeminent magazine that we are (one of Australia’s largest circulating magazines with almost half a million copies distributed every month) is because we research our stories and our readers value that. We’re fact-driven journalism. We lift women higher. And that’s the saddest, scrappiest part of all of this. This blogger purports to support women but today she missed an opportunity to use her voice to do just that.
Words by Karen Miles