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Pandemic Threatens Progress for Mothers in the Workforce. We Will Not Allow It.


A letter from our CEO and Co-Founder, Sharon Kan

Dear fellow mother,

This pandemic has caused complete chaos for so many families. For mothers with young kids, this can be particularly acute. Many are being asked to quickly adjust their lives and routines to meet a large list of new demands that come with Zoom and remote learning, and at the same time balancing this with a new set of expectations from their employers while working from home. The result is moms of young children in preschool, elementary and even middle school, struggling to stay focused on their jobs and keeping their kids engaged, busy and motivated to learn. 

In her New York Times article Amanda Taub explores how working moms are struggling to keep their jobs during the pandemic. “Substantial research has shown that most professional gender gaps are in fact motherhood gaps: women without children are much closer to parity with men when it comes to salaries and promotions, but mothers pay a large career penalty.” Being a working mom was tough before the pandemic, it’s even harder now. Early childhood education was one of the primary institutions that has been shown to successfully limit “gender inequality and encourage women’s participation in the workplace.” With schools and daycares partially or fully closed, and no child support to be found, it is almost impossible for mothers to keep their jobs.

Recently our Director of Customer Success, Diane Meehan, met a mother who lost her medical billing job because her toddler kept yelling in the background of her calls. Without other childcare options she was stuck in a double bind. Her employer expected her not only to happily bring her work into her home, they acted as if they had the right to control what was happening inside her house while she was working.

I'm enraged when I think about how these are the types of situations working moms have to face every day. It drives me to ask, what can we as Pepperlane, and we as working entrepreneurial mothers do to help? 

I believe it starts by empowering mothers to define their own rules. I am talking about intentionally not following the patriarchal model anymore of how to become financially independent. You don’t need to work for someone else—on their terms, playing by their rules. It's time to start your own business—on your own terms by your rules. And Pepperlane is here to help.

Here are six steps that can help you get started:

  1. You are talented. Think about your talents, what are you good at? What service can you offer? I bet you have had an idea at some point in your life that you did not pursue. Well guess what, there is no better time than now to explore it. 
  2. Test your ideas with a couple of friends, get them to try. After they try it out, if you have 5 friends that want to spread the word out to their other friends, you are on to something good. (It helps to have a strong elevator pitch. We've got a great framework to help you create a strong one, quickly.)
  3. Ask friend to try your service and give you testimonials
  4. Now that you are really getting on a roll you are ready to announce to your network that you are in business. 
  5. Remember - Rome was not built in one day. It will take time, but this is your way out, your way to building your own financial independence.
  6. Find a community that can support you - Do not do it alone. Communities like Pepperlane are filled with other moms who have successfully started their own businesses on their terms, and are enthusiastic about supporting other mothers to become financially independent. 

Mothers have worked too hard, for too many generations, to get to where we are today in the workforce. Even before the pandemic came there was much progress to be made. Not only will we not cede one inch of ground gained, we assert that we will take more, and we will do so on our own terms.



P.S. Take a look at Pepperlane’s (Re)Imagine Journey. This new group-coaching program is tailor made for mom entrepreneurs who are ready to start something new, and could be just the thing you need to get your business started off on the right path.

Eager to start your business!? Conventional wisdom will tell you the first thing you need is a business plan. Our Co-Founder, Gail Goodman, has a different idea for you. Read more.




Written by Sharon Kan

Sharon is a mother of two daughters. She built 4 startups that were acquired by Oracle, Microsoft, Infor and Barnes & Noble. She co-founded WIN, the Women Innovating Now Lab at Babson College to help female entrepreneurs start their businesses. Over the course of her career, Sharon has mentored over 150 female CEOs and business owners. One fact about Sharon that you won't guess: she loves to skateboard when no one is watching.

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