#MotherWorks is a photographic exhibition celebrating the brilliant and bizarre duality of the life of working mums, the women who hold the economy up with one hand and a baby with the other. By bringing the exhibition into the workplace we help organisations make their working mothers feel represented and recognised, essential for retaining talent and encouraging returners. A new, bright bold way to celebrate diversity and inclusion.
#MotherWorks was exhibited in the House of Commons in the stunning Upper Waiting Hall 2-9 March to celebrate International Women’s Day 2020. It was part of the Royal Photographic society’s 100 Heroines exhibition and The London Design Trail. Marsh, Lockton and Clyde & Co hosted the exhibition in their stunning St Botolph Building in the heart of the City of London this March. Other hosts, sponsors and partners include WaveMaker, Mazars and WeAreTheCity.
Press: Hadley Freeman in The Weekend Guardian
#Motherworks in The Telegraph for International Women’s Day 2020
Today’s Working mothers are extraordinary chameleons, They do the most difficult stressful responsible job on the planet – I don’t care if you are a professional negotiator, you try getting a coat on a stroppy 3-year-old. Everyone has an opinion on how we should raise the next generation, mothers are quietly getting on with it as they always have with little praise and support. #MotherWorks celebrates these women, their achievements, their incredibly difficult, complicated and consequently sometimes hilarious lives.
“She has very cleverly both composed a shot and made it appear spontaneous. But the real genius is that each photo is part of a story – a single sentence which leaves you wondering about the rest of the paragraph. Many of them show scenes of domestic disorder which you know the mother concerned is going to have to clear up while remaining constantly vigilant about their children’s needs and behaviour. They also capture the frustrations, tolerance, chaos and above all, love, that is part of family life.” Leslie Manasseh Brixton Bugle
Jo Whiley, radio DJ, talks about breastfeeding at work – during records and sometimes while interviewing – which apparently threw Christopher Ecclestone, in her book “World in Motion”.
I was lucky enough be able to take my sons to shoots (until they were mobile enough to dismantle my lighting rig.) They were cuddled by celebrities and CEOs and Mike Trow who was the picture editor at Vogue, and encouraged me to bring them along, was a great surrogate nanny. I was lucky to experience a lot of people willing to be flexible and encouraging about working and being a mum at the same time.
Sadly for most women, this is not possible and so begins the weird duality of the mother who works: while smartly dressed ready to head out to an important meeting, kissing little ones goodbye without getting covered in whatever they are eating/smeared with. The mother heading off to her shift at the supermarket to shouts of “bring us back a treat mum!”. The masterful multitasking mums who work from home, on a conference call while wiping something unspeakable off the floor. Working mothers do 2 full-time jobs. This is rarely celebrated or even taken into consideration by many employers.
I was inspired by MP Sarah Olney’s International Women’s’ Day 2017 speech in the House of Commons. “Yesterday, for example, I spent the first part of the morning trying to get my son to clean his teeth and my daughter to brush her hair. I then travelled into Westminster and challenged the Prime Minister in the Chamber about her spending priorities for education. Of the two things, the latter was more remarked upon—it was heard by Members here, recorded in Hansard and shared on Twitter—but getting my son to clean his teeth was the greater achievement in many ways. It took more ingenuity, effort and emotional commitment, but nobody noticed, cared or applauded me for it.”