Our personal experiences in bringing 3 children into the world and seeking to navigate successful and meaningful careers for ourselves were indeed the inspiration for Grace Papers.
Babies are born babies, and with love as our constant guide, we gain the wisdom to be the parents we need to be. But for many parents, the roles of mother and father have been defined for them by previous generations: father breadwinner and mother carer.
What’s more, what is so natural to our existence is not so natural to our organisations, where the ideal worker is still one without carer responsibilities and can prioritise in absolute terms, work.
After we had our first baby, we too did just that: Prue worked part time both at Corporate Express and once she established her own consultancy, while Ben worked full-time and continued to be promoted into executive strategy and commercial roles.
Throughout this period, our girlfriends and clients shared their personal challenges in seeking to return to work – fear and anxiety about communicating their pregnancy to their manager, losing the interesting work once they announced their pregnancy, inadequate flexibility and job redesign on their return or simply being made redundant while on maternity leave.
It was these shared experiences that forced us to challenge our own situation, flipping the model for a period so Prue could work full time to document all the learnings she had gained, while Ben cared for their 3 children. Discrimination against working mothers was rife, and we knew we had an opportunity to change that.
To stage an empowering intervention starting with the mother, providing her with education, awareness and proven strategies to navigate pregnancy and career before she even communicates her pregnancy to her workplace, then continuing to deliver that accompaniment and support strategies, together with a community of support throughout her entire journey, enabling her to realise her full potential.
Gender equality is about social change, and the most effective way to drive social change is to empower those who have most to gain: working mothers…but after Ben took 3 months off to care for our 3 children, then aged 4, 2 and 6 months, we quickly realised fathers have a great deal to gain too, and our society has a long way to go before fathers are accepted as carers.
Not just fathers who are seeking to take parental leave – all fathers. And its completing the conversation.
Grace Papers is the expression of our collective educations, experiences and desire for your journey to be a little less complicated, and for you to be having the right conversations, at the right time, both at home and in the workplace. Every program we offer is a journey in self-discovery – by us asking the right questions, you’ll come up with the right answers, be capable of adapting to different situations as they present themselves, and experience the freedom of work and family, as it should be in 2016.