Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Inclusion of Home-Centred Women

Written By

Aleksandra Bordunos, Sofia Kosheleva and Anna Zyryanova

Submitted: 26 January 2021 Reviewed: 16 June 2021 Published: 07 August 2021

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.98943

From the Edited Volume

Corporate Social Responsibility

Edited by Beatrice Orlando

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Firms are highly interested in better inclusion of women with childcare commitments, especially for leadership positions, as reward for higher work groups’ gender diversity is valuable. Gender diversity became topical issue in corporate social responsibility of companies. However, many firms report that gender diversity is stalled, due to conflicting stereotypes about social roles of employees. Hakim’s influential preference theory suggests explanations of how women choose between productive and reproductive work. According to it, there are three types of employed women: home-centred, work-centred and adaptive workers, who combine both. Three options for preference assume three alternative frames of reference. Inclusion-related initiatives aim to reshape such frames by addressing employees’ identity work through readjusting managerially inspired discourses. Current research narrows the focus to the most vulnerable of them – home-centred women. We referred to responses of 721 mothers with previous working experience, from the biggest cities in Russia to find answers to the following questions: what affects home-centred women in their decision to return to the same employer after the maternity leave and what causes them to quit. We enriched empirical analysis with a theoretical review of initiatives helping to readjust corresponding stereotypes.


  • inclusion
  • motherhood
  • work-family balance
  • work-life balance
  • childcare commitments
  • maternity leave
  • home-centred women
  • preference theory
  • person-organization fit theory

1. Introduction

According to McKinsey report [1], playing an identical role by women and men in labour markets, would increase the global annual GDP by 26% ($28 trillion) by 2025. However, despite widely acknowledged economic and social, moral value, the gender diversity is stalled [2].

One reason is evidence that gender diversity can bring the opposite results [3, 4]. For example, companies aiming towards gender diversity, apart from social justice, also expect higher collective intelligence, safer workplaces, better decision-making, maximized innovation and increased creativity: idea generation and exploration [5]. While in reality, they might face worsened group dynamic, increased conflicts and turnover, reduced team cohesion, labour productivity and motivation, as it is harder to cooperate for people with different background [3]. Moreover, women on leadership positions in certain cases face hostile attitude from the team or from the shareholders [3]. Thus, diversity should go hand in hand with inclusion.

Inclusion-related initiatives deal with employees’ identity through readjusting managerially inspired discourses [6], for example by redefining level of access to decision-making, resources, and upward mobility opportunities for the marginalized group [7]. Discourses are narratives, known also as frames of reference, which affect understanding of facts and intentions [8]. They ease firms’ decision-making; however, they represent a simplified perception of reality, full of stereotypes and assumptions [9]. Their prepositions is another reason of a stalled gender diversity.

The question how gender becomes stabilized and then is re-established in a work context is not new and exists in organizational studies since 1987 [10], providing actionable insight. Thus, before readjusting managerially inspired discourses, firstly, it is important to reveal their current statements, and define which stereotypes interfere with gender diversity strategy. Most of them are related to the motherhood, causing “maternity/motherhood penalty”: discrimination in recruitment, promotion, training, remuneration, etc. [11].

The research relies on a person-organization fit theoretical base. It suggests that a person selects organization, according to personal needs, preferences, values, expectations and aspirations [12]. It assumes that to eliminate unproductive stereotypes, we should analyze two groups of frames of reference: those, which show women expectations, and those, which illustrate strategic human resource management approach.

The empirical part of the research is focused on the Russian context, where the problem of gender diversity exists above 100 years, since 1917. Nevertheless, it is also stalled, and maternity is among main reasons for negative stereotypes. Firms in Russia are obliged to grant young mothers a leave before and after childbirth for up to 1179 days, or even more in case medical institutions request earlier leave or later return. This obligation might occur unexpectedly for an employer, which is especially problematic in case of rare and unique employees. On the other hand, employees can voluntarily shorten the leave and return earlier, either to flexible or to full-time working schedule. Due to long period of leave and government allowance, maternal leave provides fruitful conditions for entrepreneurial start-ups, self-employment or free-lance work. Thus, many women decide not to return to the same employer, causing big share of negative stereotypes leading to stalled gender diversity.

The motivation for the research is a necessity to study women preferences in order to help firms with women’s retention and inclusion, so employees and employers could benefit from gender diversity. We narrow the focus to the following research question: what affects home-centred women in their decision to return to the same employer after the maternity leave and what causes them to quit. The novelty lies in a discourse approach towards SHRM systems, which traditionally are treated from the positive or normative perspective. Apart from the SHRM stream, the findings contribute to the research related to gender fluidity, as well as diversity and inclusion in organizations.


2. Theoretical framework and methodology

The research relies on a person-organization fit (P-O fit) theory. It suggests that employees’ decision to remain depends on congruence of their values with corporate values, personality congruence with an imaginary ideal employee in terms of attitude, and work environment congruence, when individual characteristics satisfy employees’ expectations [13]. Both employers and employees themselves expect deviation of mothers’ behaviors from accepted standards, which might negatively affect their relationship with team members, affecting person-organization fit, perceived stress, self-efficacy, and career decision-making [14]. To attract and retain women with childcare commitments organizations should offer specific opportunities, encouragement and inclusiveness [15].

In combining groups of expectations of employer and employee, we rely on contextual Strategic HRM Framework [16]. It assumes that employers’ initiatives related to employees should satisfy four levels of fit: institutional, organizational, strategic and internal level of fit, not contradicting existing SHRM system. Lepak and Snell [17] systematized key attributes of established Work Systems; Bazigos et al. [18] summarized options for strategic fit; Thomas and Ely [19] – options for organizational fit. Institutional fit was a black spot for several decades, however, articles published after 2010th covered this gap by contrasting western neoliberal context to liberal (e.g. [20]) and to contexts of the “rest” countries (e.g. [21]).

However, the framework is lacking the fifth important level – individual fit, which became important with the dominance of Harvard model for SHRM [22]. To cover the missing part we focused on the identity salience [23]: which efforts employees with childcare commitments should bring to readjust their self-understanding and reach higher self-esteem despite “identity gaps” - perceived identity threats caused by incongruence between the self and the socio-structural context [24]. Such internal process of self-construction is called an identity work [6]: in this case meaning intersection of work and childcare commitments.

The research question is what affects women with childcare commitments in their decision to return to the same employer after the maternity leave. Previously similar question raised Hakim, introducing influential preference theory [25], about women choice between productive and reproductive work. According to it, there are three types of working women: home-centred, work-centred and adaptive workers, who balance between work and home.

Tables 1 and 2 summarized findings of the comprehensive literature review of articles published between January 2017 and April 2019 by the journals listed in the Academic Journal Guide 2018 of the Chartered Association of Business Schools specialized in gender research and management. The sample was enriched by manual search in the database Scopus, using key words “inclusion”, “childcare”, “motherhood”, “fatherhood”, “parenting”. We omitted interruptions, which were beyond organizational control, focusing only on managerial practices related to individual abilities (A) and motivation (M), as well as opportunities (O) for employees. AMO is a widely used framework for analysis of SHRM systems [27].

Type of fitFocusSolutions
Internal fitMotivation for gender diversity and inclusionNormative aspiration, shared mostly by leaders of organization
Desired outcomeIncrease of productivity, presentism, cost-effectiveness
Individual fitIdentity workWork as a job, parents as caregivers
Choice in a work–family conflictFamily, favor of traditional patriarchal contract
Strategic fitAcademic perspective on strategyPositioning strategy
Scenario for organizational healthMarket focused scenario, accentuated on the value of financial capital and organizational productivity.
Institutional fitGround assumptionsLiberal discourse of merit and sameness: all are equal by default
Aspiration by feminismLiberal feminism: expected external support in work–family balance
Organizational fitUnderlying paradigm for diversity managementDiscrimination-and-fairness paradigm aimed to neutralize overt resistance

Table 1.

Summary of the contextual fit requirements for legitimacy of initiatives suitable for home-centred women.

Source: [26].

Individual levelSupervisors levelOrganizational level
Ability1. Assess current employees’-related initiatives to reveal their positive effect on the chosen marginal group; promoting positive stereotypes.2. Run exit interviews at dismissal to explore key reasons of such decisions, spotting for acknowledged evidence of the “maternity wall” in teams.10. Provide access to online self-assessment tool for tracking own health: both physical and mental.
Motivation3. Implement a role review procedure for employees during periods of intense family commitment or part-time work, so their professional output does not suffer.4. Design and implement qualification matrixes to be able re-arranging the workload in the department in case of a need.5. Add more transparency to the remuneration system, e.g. referring to a grading system, or annually publishing salaries pay gap by gender across grades.
Opportunity8. Adjust the list of corporate social benefits by adding support for family-related commitments, e.g. insurance for a prenatal-care; discount for a housekeeping service; pre-paid access to a database with nurses and baby-sitters; quoting places in the children-garden; ensuring access to the privileging schools, summer camps.6. Upraise line managers’ responsibility for staff performance.
7. Provide guidance for line managers about active support of anyone taking a career break.
9. Rearrange the work places to spread signs of family friendliness, e.g. arrange corporate playgrounds with baby-sitters; arrange family-oriented holidays and volunteering activities in orphanage.
11. Routinize practice of mindfulness through organizational factors, e.g. promoting micro-breaks.

Table 2.

Set of initiatives suitable for home-centred women.

Source: [26].

Empirical part refers to data collected within the period September 2018 — October 2019. The questionnaire was spread online through social networks of Selfmama audience. Selfmama is an educational project for urban women with childcare commitments. It aims to help those who are in search of balance, new development prospects, useful knowledge and networking, as well as those in need of inspiration and support. It organizes learning events both offline and online, like conferences, internships, webinars, master-classes, etc.

The questionnaire was filled in by 950 respondents, however, after the preliminary data cleaning, 721 responses were taken into consideration. All participants are women with children, who live in a large Russian city with over 1 mln. population. All of them experienced maternity leave and had work experience prior to or during the leave. Their age is between 25 and 45 years old. Omitted observations did not correspond to any of the mentioned criteria. We split all sample into four cluster, according to signals related to particular frame of reference. Women, who did not work despite the end of maternity leave, formed the first cluster. The fourth cluster formed respondents who shared desire to become entrepreneur, being self-employed or work as free-lancer, and those who actually selected these roles before the maternity leave or after. The third cluster formed directors, senior managers, rare specialists, who did not think about being entrepreneur, self-employed or try themselves in free-lance work. The rest employees formed the second cluster.


3. Theoretical findings

3.1 General overview

Home-centred women share family values, being caring, sharing, non-competitive, communal, focusing on cohesion, family and children [25]. They prefer not to work unless they experience monetary concerns. For them university degree is a cultural capital [25]. They are very responsive towards social policies, but indifferent towards employees’ incentives [25]. Table 1 summarizes results of the other previously published findings, related to this category of personnel, which combine organizational and personal fit preferences.

Firms, which suit home-centred women with childcare commitments, adopt a “blinding” ideal [19], assuming that all employees are the same, or at least managers are aspired to treat everyone equally. Managers believe that any differences should not influence corporate culture or working process. Employers treat employees according to their merit - ability. Among key meritocratic principles are objectivity, fairness, reward for hard work, ownership over own progression [28]. It implies that job gets the most suitable candidate. However, as revealed later, instead valuing human capital, meritocracy rather depended on social capital – political behavior, and became a mean to justify the status quo [29]. Dominating assumptions create situation when the stuff is diverse, but the work is not [19]. By adding variance to the action plan, diversity irritates management as it interferes in a smooth work process or threatens to pull an organization away from its original track. Thus, the key change agents here are leaders truly inspired by fairness of equal treatment, who are able to push this vision through their top-down directives [19].

Table 2 provides summary of previously published initiatives, suitable for better inclusion of such group of employees. The logic behind numbering of initiatives is explained below.

3.2 Ability

The first group of initiatives in the Table 2 aims at defining particular list of attributes differentiating employees witch childcare commitments, enhancing beneficial for them stereotypes (Initiatives 1–2; Table 2). For example, there are stereotypes, assuming worsen of cognitive abilities during the prenatal stage of maternity [30, 31], called a “pregnancy brain” problem. However, previous research shows that changes of the cognitive abilities correlate rather with expectation of such changes both from the colleagues and from the employees [32]. These negative expectations might be replaced with positive, as women with childcare commitments are capable to demonstrate significant improvement of productivity because of the heightened perceptiveness, greater efficiency, resilience, increased motivation and improved social skills grounded on the emotional intelligence [33].

Furthermore, colleagues tend to “put a ‘monstrous’ spin on pregnancy” [34]. Decreased productivity is associated with uncontrollability of certain physiological aspects associated with the prenatal and post-natal periods of maternity: toxicosis, fatigue, breastfeeding facets, and periodic decrease in a short-term memory. These expectations are amplified due to the interpretation by colleagues and customers of visual physiological, emotional, intellectual changes: body proportions, shifts in interests and topics for informal conversations, which might cause unconscious “monstrophication” of young mothers [35]. On the other hand, employees who combine work with childcare commitments build faster relationships with colleagues and partners with similar experience [33].

3.3 Motivation

Home-centred women seek for jobs with fewer responsibilities, to ease combining of dual role [36]. Initiatives 3–5 (Table 2) represent examples how to raise fairness of the wage gap, in case home-centred employees indeed would strive to lower their efforts.

Stereotypes assume that home-centred women have lower mobility - they less often agree on business trips or reallocation [37]. They are associated with higher absenteeism - increased amount of sick leaves [35]. In both cases, employees heavily rely on the informal childcare facilities and institutes: baby-sitters, nurses, friends or relatives [38], and companies are not willing to cover the costs because of cost-cut strategies [17]. Women with childcare commitments also much often refuse from personal sick leaves, preferring to stay at work despite health concerns [35]. This is a result of the additional maternal burden, especially in case of a divorce.

Maternity is also the key reason why employees refuse from the work connectivity - applying information and communication technologies to be potentially available for work around clock despite their location or time [39]. Home-centred women tend to build sharp boarders between these two areas of their life. Otherwise, “two shifts”- based social gender contract plays negative role in women’s health. 35% of full-time female employees assume 100% of the housework and 60% do at least 75% responsibility [40]. Additionally, 28% of full-time working mothers assume 100% responsibility for the kids, and 56% assume at least 75% [40]. This leads to work detachment: disconnecting mentally and emotionally from job-related issues. The extreme example of work detachment for employers is long maternity leave with a refuse from work connectivity, especially that women opting for a relatively large family might eventually withdraw from the labour market [41], or return only to part-time work [42]. Another issue is a need of daily micro-breaks firstly associated with breast-feeding, later with arrangement of child-related activities. However, there is positive effect of most types of micro-breaks for productivity of individuals with lower general work engagement [43], which is a key characteristic of this HRM system, suggesting spreading this practice to all employees.

“Maternity penalty” is an inalienable part of this HRM system, as these employers heavily rely on the labour market. Women with childcare commitments initially have lower level of ambitions towards the expected wage level, they rarely bargain for wage increase or gaining additional resources [41]. Motherhood wage gaps and biased decision-making are less evident within formalized personnel arrangements, collective bargaining agreements and formal personnel policies imposed by the human resources departments, because they reduce managers’ ability to indulge personal biases [11]. However, such initiatives, as gender blinding in short-listing candidates or introducing rating against criteria prior to interview turned to be less effective, as they only masked existing discrimination at the work-place, postponing its evidence to the next stages. Flexible working or providing increased parental leave are already culturally associated with female gender, and do not neutralize discrimination. Thus, privileges aiming at supporting all employees who want to work long hours or flexibly, or promoting career breaks to men might ease inclusion of employees with childcare commitments.

3.4 Opportunity

Informal practices might circumvent formal procedures [44]. For instance, supervisors might be irritated by forcing them into practices they do not like. Support of supervisor in terms of feedback and career supportive initiatives positively correlated with work identity of male and female [45]. Thus, we underline several initiatives directly related to immediate supervisors (Initiatives 6–7; Table 2). During performance review positive feedback from gatekeepers (members of majority groups who hold authority and power in a field), instead disclosing objective scores, can improve the outcomes of negatively stereotyped groups; e.g. female participants reported that feedback from a male authority improved their confidence; belonging; self-efficacy; and implicit identification with the subject of review [46].

Toxic environment might also lead to a market withdrawal. Maternity motivates women to escape or minimize stressful situations. Stereotype that women handle crises better helps to receive promotion to high-risk jobs [47], known as a “glass cliff” effect. Additionally, women voluntarily tend becoming “toxic handlers”– “healing” managers needed when firms cause emotional pain through nasty supervisors, layoffs and change [48]. Even without childcare commitment, toxic handling leads to burnout psychologically and professionally, especially in case of chronic toxicity. After enriching employees’ identity with childcare commitments, they either require more organizational support or expect organizational changes smoothing toxicity [48].

Home-centred employees usually face non-favorable conditions to negotiate their needs due to such characteristics of the matching SHRM system as unification of workplaces, centralized decision-making, downward communication, low autonomy and personal hesitation for upbringing related initiatives. Male dominance on top positions leads to neglecting differences, as they are less diversity sensitive, while gender-neutral practices actually contribute to inequalities [49]. Occupying top positions by home-centred women might be problematic for several normative and structural reasons. Moreover, women might not progress by their own choice: it becomes difficult for a home-centred woman to fulfill work demands in a culture of long working hours; or avoiding social judging her for careerism [36]. In such contexts, employees with childcare commitments meet family unsupportive organization perceptions: higher levels of work-family and family–work conflict, work stress, stronger turnover intentions, greater job burnout, less job satisfaction, and less affective commitment [50]. As a result, many employees tend to hide their pregnancy or child-related commitments. However, some women choose different strategy - image maintenance through harder work [50], which might lead to a burn-out, especially that this behavior does not correspond their values.

Initiatives related to changes of corporate culture towards higher family-friendliness are the most questionable for the current HRM system, due to its top priority to maintain the status quo. However, firm might initiate small steps supporting evidence of its family-related commitments, decreasing bulling or shaming of employees who try to integrate children-related activities into their work environment (Initiatives 8–9, Table 2) [51].

3.5 Summary and coevolution of diversity management strategies

With such we conclude that real aim of inclusion-oriented initiatives in the analyzed SHRM system is decreasing overt forms of discrimination. The desired result of interruptions is a denial by decision-makers and employees of any sort of overt discrimination, predetermined social gender roles, stereotypes regarding the “maternity wall” [52] in their organizations. However, even acknowledging any sort of difference is already a step ahead.

Newer approaches to inclusion, inspired by the domesticated feminism, are not about assimilating and homogenizing difference, they are about valuing difference and about the power firms can derive from deliberately nurturing and integrating heterogeneous groups of people [53]. They match values of work-centred women and those, who balance between work and home. Change in assumptions makes analyzed set of initiatives less legitimate for other clusters of women with childcare commitment. However, diminishing overt forms of discrimination is a ground step for SHRM system that is suitable for work-centred employees, while acknowledging role of employees and immediate supervisors in coping with barriers is a ground step for SHRM system that is suitable for mothers, who strive towards balance.

Suitable context for work-centred women regularly has safer environment for speaking out, motivated internalizing efforts of individuals with childcare commitments, who aim towards finding unique personal and felicitous work–family balance [54]. Corresponding shift inspired self-assessment of internal resources, which could be borrow for home-centred women too, providing access for marginal employees to an online self-assessment tool for tracking own physical and mental health (Initiative 10, Table 2).

Suitable context for women, who strive towards balance, spread assumptions that the more diverse groups of employees are, the quicker firms gain access to the niche markets and better ideas. They also disillusioned regarding possibility to influence existing in the society stereotypes and focused on redesigning traditional workplaces, aiming to balance between employees’ work-life needs and workplace effectiveness. It involves raising stress-resistance through educating Mindfulness [55]. Companies might utilize these findings for home-centred women too, by routinizing practice of mindfulness through organizational factors [56] through keeping workload to a manageable degree [57]; not through minimizing demands, but through optimizing them [58] and through avoiding excessive work behavior of employees [59] (Initiative 11, Table 2).


4. Empirical findings

4.1 Measurement and hypotheses

We analyzed previously published antecedents for the decision of women with childcare commitments to resign and compared these factors across four clusters, relying on ANOVA analysis. Tables 35 summarize key information about the observed variables.

Items, (codes)Total sampleHome-centred womenWork-centred women
25–30 (1)17424,1%8028,47%1711,89%
31–35 (2)30742,6%13046,26%5739,86%
36–40 (3)19126,5%5921,00%5135,66%
41–45 (4)496,8%124,27%1812,59%

Table 3.

Mothers age.

Items, (codes)Total sampleHome-centred womenWork-centred women
Moscow (1)17424,1%67,62%28,47%11479,72%
Other (0)30742,6%32,38%46,26%2920,28%

Table 4.


Variable (code) CategoryNMeanStd. dev.Std. error
Age of the smallest child
(1–0-2 years old; 0 - older)

Table 5.

Descriptive statistics.

Mother’s age is usually a typical predictor for employee’s ability to resign. Companies assume that young home-centred women will stay at home longer, expecting new children, and will return when the family has reached its preferred size [41]. There was a statistically significant difference between groups as determined by one-way ANOVA (F = 10,67, p = 0,00). S Dunnet post hoc test revealed that home-centred women in our sample were indeed significantly younger (2,01 ± 0,82) than work-centred women (2,4 ± 0.87). There was no statistically significant difference between the rest clusters.

Hypothesis 1. Women’s age is positively related to return to work after maternity leave of home-centred employee.

Stereotypes also point at a city as valid predictor, as women during their maternity leaves face depreciation of the human capital, amplifying the risk of poverty and social exclusion; while employers may treat the length of such leaves as a signal about lower commitment to the labour market and paid work [41]. The more competitive is environment, like in Moscow, the higher is a problem. There was a statistically significant difference between groups as determined by one-way ANOVA (F = 2,84, p = 0,04). S Dunnet post hoc test revealed that significantly bigger share of home-centred women (0,66 ± 0,47) lived in cities with less competitive environment than Moscow (0,80 ± 0,40). There was no statistically significant difference between the rest clusters.

Hypothesis 2. High level of population in the city is positively related to return after their maternity leave of home-centred employee.

Children age is another typical predictor for home-centred employee’s long-lasting maternity leave and withdrawal from the market. Traditionally women refer to government or family full-time support with childcare facilities after their children reach 2 years old. Organizations try to suggest different forms of combining work- and home-related commitments; they may call employees, show care during the leave, etc. Table 5 summarizes descriptive statistic for the mentioned observations.

For measuring the effect of staying in touch with employees during their maternity leave, we asked if their employer kept contact with them during the maternity leave. The highest scores (3) gained positive answers about initiating communication with their employer. Employer could invite for corporate anniversary, holidays, contacted to ask work-related questions or invited to the office in order to arrange allowance payment. The medium score (2) gained all neutral answers. For example, when employee was the person who initiated the contact with employer or colleagues; or if company sent news by e-mail, but did not call personally. Here are examples of negative answers, scored as 1: employers did not get in touch with employees during their leave, or they called in order to initiate the dismissal. 0 scores gained responses, which shared that they had no employer to contact, as they resigned before the leave.

We also asked to evaluate their employer’s involvement to their return. The highest scores (3) gained confirmations that employer initiated discussion about adapting the work schedule and provided the expected conditions. Medium scores (2) gained neutral answers that the discussion has occurred; however, employer was unable to meet up with the desired conditions, or if employees initiated the discussion. All negative answers were scored as 1. For example, when the position was reduced, or the company was not operating anymore, or when the return was negatively surprising for employers because of high staff turnover, etc.

ANOVA analysis confirmed statistically significant difference between all clusters in all three variables: children age, care of company and contact with a discussion of possible work conditions. S Dunnet post hoc test confirmed that home-centred women statistically differed from all the rest groups in our sample. They had the smallest mean age of the child. Employers significantly less contacted them with inclusion initiatives, than employers of work-centred women.

Hypothesis 3. Having children smaller than 2 years old is negatively related to home-centred employees’ return to work after maternity leave.

Hypothesis 4. Employers’ contact is positively related to employees’ return after their maternity leave.

Hypothesis 5. Employers’ care is positively related to employees’ return after their maternity leave (Table 6).

VariableSum of squaresdfMean squareFSig.
Children ageBetween groups8,8932,9612,770,00
Within groups166,457170,23
CareBetween groups68,79322,9329,600,00
Within groups555,537170,77
ConnectBetween groups237,27379,0949,760,00
Within groups1139,517171,59

Table 6.

ANOVA results for children age, care and connection with employees.

4.2 Predictors of employees’ return

Previous research shows that mentioned seven characteristics differentiate home-centred women from the rest employees. However, can we rely on them to predict the return of home-centred women to the same employer? The binary logistic regression model was statistically significant, χ2 = 184,695, p < 0,00. Hosmer and Lemeshow test also confirmed model significance (χ2 = 1,799, p = 0,97). For the regression, we narrowed the sample to 281 responses, which referred to this cluster.

The model explained 69,1% (Nagelkerke R2) of the variance in employees’ intention to return to the same employer, and correctly classified 84,7% of cases (Tables 7 and 8). In line with the expectations, staying in touch with employees with childcare commitments during their leave (increased chances of return by 2,202 times) and showing care about their return (expected increase of returns by 5,339 times) are good predictors of actual return by employees to work. Not mother’s age, neither city or children age could predict employees’ return of home-centred mothers.

PredictedShare of correct predictions, %
Not returnedReturned
ObservedNot returned1792289,1
Total share84,7

Table 7.

Classification table.

VariablesßStd. ErrorWaldSign.Exp(ß)
Mothers’ age0,4300,2483,0110,0831,538
Children age−0,5290,3971,7780,1820,589

Table 8.

Variables in the equation.

Note: ** and * indicate significance at 1% and 5% level respectively.


5. Conclusions

According to preference theory [25], there are three types of working women: home-centred, work-centred and adaptive workers, who combine both. Most of the literature about diversity and inclusion is related to empowerment of work-centred women, who usually become rare and unique employees or occupy leadership positions and usually have high interest to stay with the company despite the maternity leave. Companies that are eager to promote inclusion practices for home-centred women, act in alignment with social corporate responsibility, not for the expected monetary returns. However, returns are usually also valuable.

In the current research we focused on the home-centred women, looking into what affects them in their decision to return to the same employer after the maternity leave and what causes them to quit. Literature review showed eleven key initiatives, which supposed to help them with inclusion. Interruptions start with the denial by decision-makers and employees of any sort of overt discrimination, predetermined social gender roles, stereotypes regarding the “maternity wall” [52] in their organizations. Acknowledging of any sort of difference is an expected solution leading towards inclusion despite meritocratic principles. The first group of initiatives in the Table 2 aim at defining particular list of attributes differentiating employees witch childcare commitments, enhancing beneficial for them stereotypes. Initiatives 3–5 (Table 2) represent examples how to raise fairness of the wage gap, in case home-centred employees indeed would strive to lower their efforts. Additionally firm might initiate small steps supporting evidence of its family-related commitments, decreasing bulling or shaming of employees who try to integrate children-related activities into their work environment (Initiatives 8–9, Table 2). The final two initiatives represent values and assumptions of the newer frameworks of reference for employees’ inclusion, more suitable for work-centred and entrepreneurial mothers, who manage to balance between work and family.

Empirical part allowed defining seven attributes, which show the difference of home-centred women from the rest clusters: city, age of the mother and the smallest child, level of employers’ care and contact during the maternity leave. However, not all of them could be applied as predictors for return after their maternity leave. Role of employers’ communication allows assuming that impact of inclusion related initiatives for home-centred women is helpful.


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Written By

Aleksandra Bordunos, Sofia Kosheleva and Anna Zyryanova

Submitted: 26 January 2021 Reviewed: 16 June 2021 Published: 07 August 2021