When I returned to work after 8 months off on Maternity Leave, I was placed in the most junior role in my dept ‘to ease me back in’ and had to fight for 6 months to be allowed to return to the job I’d worked prior to ML, successfully, for 15 years. I was frustrated by the endless meetings I had, trying to argue that I’d not suddenly lost the ability to do my job just because I’d had a baby, to be faced with the repeated comments about how I wasn’t as focused on my role because my DD was now my priority & they were trying to help me by taking responsibility away from me so I could just come in & leave without too much pressure. I was still paid the same wage, and my role/level hadn’t changed, so they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t happy. The main person involved in this was a woman who believed that once you were a mum, you shouldn’t work/should put your child 1st & downgrade your work to be able to do that. Eventually a (male) colleague, who was temporarily promoted while my female boss went to work on a project, questioned why the dept was not using my knowledge & experience to its full benefit. After 6 mths of me saying exactly that, it took a man saying it for someone to suddenly hear what I was saying. As much as I was grateful he’s stepped up for me, it rankled hugely that it took a male voice to suddenly make the ‘big boss’ listen what I’d been saying for 6 mths.
Since returning to work part time, I’ve not been promoted in 10 years. Plenty less experience colleagues have been promoted, but the part time part of my existence means that no matter how well I do my job, how much I demonstrate the achievements I’ve had & highlight my value to the company, I’ll never be promoted.