United States: What Employers Can Learn From Seeing Working Moms Shine At Track And Field World Championships

Last Updated: October 21 2019
Article by Tim Reed

From September 27, 2019, through October 6, 2019, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) held the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar ("athletics" is what we Americans call "track and field"). The meet was highlighted by several women who recently had children excelled on the track.

Allyson Felix stopped racing early into the 2018 track season due to pregnancy and had an emergency C-section and gave birth to a daughter in November of last year. Already the most decorated female in U.S. Olympic history, Felix surpassed sprint legend Usain Bolt by earning her twelfth and thirteenth world championship gold medals and now has the most world championship titles of any track athlete.

Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce—arguably the greatest female sprinter of all time (among other accolades, Fraser-Pryce was Olympic champion in the 100 meters (m) in 2008 and 2012, as well as the world champion in that same event in 2009, 2013, and 2015)—missed the 2017 track season due to pregnancy. After giving birth to a son in August 2017, Fraser-Pryce returned to competition this season and captured yet another 100-meter world championship in Doha, running a blistering 10.71 seconds (just one one-hundredth of a second slower than her Jamaican national record time of 10.70, which she ran in 2012).

In addition, American Nia Ali captured a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles within 18 months of having her second child, while China's Liu Hong won the women’s 20-kilometer race walk after giving birth to a daughter at the end of 2017 (and taking more than 2 years of maternity leave).

A Lesson for Employers

These women athletes became pregnant, gave birth, and have raised children, all while being among the best in the world at their chosen profession. Based on their experiences, here are just a few (intertwining) things that employers should consider when supporting expectant and new mothers in the workplace:

  • Maternity leave leads to good outcomes: Each of the athletes discussed above took time off work due to their pregnancies and to care for their children. And all of them went on to become world champions. (For her part, Felix has become a steadfast advocate for working mothers. In July 2019, after publicly pushing for companies that sponsor athletes to provide maternity leave protections, Felix signed an endorsement deal with women's apparel brand Athleta that includes "full protection during maternity" and will enable Felix to continue to be a "champion[-] [for] women and girls." In addition to fighting for maternity leave within athletics, Felix has used her platform to bring attention to the alarming rate at which Black mothers in the United States die during childbirth.)
  • A gradual return to full employment is sometimes helpful: In a 2018 Forbes article titled "Employers, It’s Time to Prove You Value Working Moms," Selena Rezvani noted the following: "One study found that 70% of women feel anxious about taking a career break. For many, that may be because there's an expectation things should click right back into place when they return from leave (a setup that is not for everyone). At Procter & Gamble, new mothers are allowed to gradually increase or adjust their hours, work from home, compress their schedules, or take leaves of absence (in addition to receiving peer mentoring when they come back from maternity leave)."Fraser-Pryce gradually worked her way back into form. After her son Zyon was delivered via C-section, she waited several months before lifting weights and skipped practices as necessary to ensure optimal health.
  • Allow for flexibility upon a mother's return to work: With new children come new personal obligations, including medical appointments and school-related meetings. Flexibility is paramount. As articulated by Sara Langer in a 2018 Mother magazine piece: "When work flexibility is embraced, both employers and employees thrive. Employers can expect financial savings, increased productivity, lower turnover, reduced absences, a better corporate culture, and many more benefits. The upside for employees include being more positively engaged in work and life, better health, time savings, reduced stress, having healthier relationships, and a greater sense of overall happiness."

Ali's need for flexibility was especially pronounced. Although she lives in Florida, Ali participates in training sessions in Germany. On one occasion, Ali took a break from training in Europe so she could fly home for a parent-teacher conference for her oldest child, Titus. According to Ali, "It was important for me to be there and get a good feel of what he's going to have to go through this year."

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions