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Marshall Plan for Moms Releases New Playbook for Working Moms

The report calls on employers to do their part to address the mass exodus of moms from the workforce during COVID-19. It features new data from a survey of over 1,000 American moms.

The Marshall Plan for Moms recently released a new playbook for employers, “Making Workplaces Work for Moms: Building a Mom-Friendly Workplace for the Post-Pandemic Future“. The playbook lays out the daily injustices working moms face. It also illustrates exactly what they need to return to – and thrive at – work. It draws on a survey of more than 1,000 American moms. The playbook also uses hundreds of academic studies and articles, and dozens of expert interviews. It was created in partnership with APCO Impact, an advisory group within APCO Worldwide.

“We cannot just flip a switch and recover the 30 years of progress we lost on women’s workforce participation overnight,” said Reshma Saujani, founder of the Marshall Plan for Moms and Girls Who Code. “We need to acknowledge that the system never worked for working moms in the first place. [Employers need] to do their part to rebuild the workplace from the ground up, with gender equity embedded in the foundation. And we need, as a society, to value women’s labor, at work and at home.”

Marshall Plan for Moms Playbook Cover Photo (woman on phone holding baby)
Photo courtesy of Marshall Plan for Moms

Creating a better workplace for moms

To that end, the playbook offers employers 10 ways to make the workplace (finally) work for working moms:

  1. Give moms maximum control over their schedules by improving flexibility and predictability
  2. Support moms with access to and information about affordable childcare
  3. Help balance gender dynamics and unpaid labor in the home by incentivizing paternity leave
  4. Prioritize moms’ mental health, normalizing paid time off and promoting well-being
  5. Close the gender pay gap and pay all moms a living wage
  6. Root out the motherhood penalty (penalizing female employees for having kids)
  7. Don’t rush new moms back to work before they are ready
  8. Provide more “on-ramps” to bring moms back, such as returnships and other programs
  9. Guarantee paid sick leave so moms can take care of themselves and their families
  10. Advocate publicly for policies that benefit moms, including through lobbying efforts

These recommendations are backed by findings from a survey taken of moms across the country. Of the moms surveyed, 71 percent have described being a working mom as “very challenging” during the pandemic. So, it’s not a surprise that 74 percent of these moms have left the workforce, reduced their hours or became self-employed.

Work and motherhood during COVID-19

Testimonials from working moms are also included throughout the playbook. The testimonials detail their experiences during COVID-19 and how the lack of public and private sector supports have impacted them. Vinniece Dufresne, mom and stylist in New York said, “child care has been a nightmare. I had to take time off from my job way more than I want to. I am now considering staying home until things change.”

“A truly mom-friendly workplace needs to go beyond pump rooms and paid time off,” said Denielle Sachs, Senior Director & Global Head, APCO Impact. “As we recover from the pandemic, employers have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine the future of work in a way that is inclusive, equitable and values women’s labor. This playbook is the roadmap to making tough but necessary changes employees and potential employees need. As the largest women-owned consultancy of our kind, we are proud to partner with Marshall Plan for Moms to address the challenges facing working moms and bring rigorous research backing their voices.”

This initiative is the latest effort of the Marshall Plan for Moms campaign to center mothers in our economic recovery. In January, the Marshall Plan for Moms launched with an ad in the New York Times calling on the White House and Congress to value women’s labor and pass long overdue policies. These policies include paid family leave, affordable childcare and pay equity. The initiative continues to champion public and private sector policies that support moms.

Join the Marshall Plan for Moms movement

Become an advocate for the policies that matter. Join the Marshall Plan for Moms movement in the fight to get moms back to workplaces that work.

Find The Making Workplaces Work for Moms Playbook HERE

Find more information on the Marshall Plan for Moms HERE

About Marshall Plan for Moms


Marshall Plan for Moms is a national movement to center women in our economic recovery and champion public and private sector policies that support all moms. Our goal is to create sweeping cultural change to value women’s unseen and unpaid work and rebuild our broken system to make it possible for women to work and have kids. Together we are galvanizing moms across the country to finish the fight for women’s equality once and for all.

About APCO Impact


APCO is the world’s largest independent and majority woman-owned advisory and advocacy communications firm. A passionate belief in breaking down barriers, challenging the status quo and advancing equality has been in our DNA since our founding in 1984. APCO Impact is an advisory group within APCO Worldwide and supports clients across business, government and philanthropy. Our work helps clients be catalysts for progress and address the key issues of our time, including corporate purpose, ESG, climate and sustainability, racial and gender equity and social justice.