February ended in a blinding beam of sunlight and from this, March has emerged.

Not only does this month mark the start of spring, promising growth and new life. It brings International Women’s Day (IWD). Both a celebration of women and an opportunity to look hopefully towards a more equal future. The 2019 campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter, which calls for a more gender balanced world; “Better the balance, better the world”.

We have been thinking about non-working mothers and the potential of volunteering as a path to social enrichment and skill development.

26% of mothers do not work and nearly 1 in 5 parents reported they have deliberately stalled their careers. Taking a step back from paid employment need not mean that any parent sacrifices their personal or professional development. We believe strongly that volunteering can be a flexible means of enrichment, but it is vital that organisations actively create an accommodating work environment for this demographic.

A flexible working environment is the key to making volunteering opportunities accessible for all. Some ways that organisations may do this is through:

  • Term time working allows volunteers to take time off during the school holidays means they don’t need to find childcare over these periods and can enjoy time with their family
  • Role sharing means more perspectives, collaboration and more creative ways of working. This also allows multiple people to benefit from the voluntary placement
  • Working from home establishes trust and allows volunteers to emit travel time from their role. This may also save the organisation money if expenses are offered
  • Write full role descriptions to make sure volunteers know that you have an open and flexible working environment and that every contribution is valid regardless of the form it takes

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