HerJourney: Navigating Career Growth as a Working Mother

HerJourney: Navigating Career Growth as a Working Mother


Balancing career aspirations with motherhood remains a profound challenge for women worldwide. In Pakistan, the dynamics of this balance are particularly complex due to cultural expectations and traditional workplace norms. This article explores the journey of working mothers in Pakistan, highlighting their struggles, the supportive changes in workplace policies, and advice for those navigating similar paths.

The Evolution of Workplace Perceptions

The role of working mothers in Pakistan has been traditionally underrepresented, with women comprising only 20.73% of the workforce, significantly lower than the global average​. However, perceptions are gradually shifting, thanks in part to legal reforms like the Maternity and Paternity Act 2020, which aims to alleviate the tough choice between career continuation and family commitments by providing paid leaves to mothers and fathers​​. Workplace policies have gradually reflected this evolving perspective, and firms are now accommodating working mothers’ needs.

“My own experience navigating the early days of motherhood was very difficult. I went back to work ten months after my baby, and yet I found that ‘mom guilt ‘ followed me everywhere; what helped was that working with a team who were super understanding of my circumstances and gave me time to ‘adjust’ back into work mode.” shares Bisma Asad Cheema, Brand and Communication Manager at Kickstart.

Challenges of Reentering the Workforce

Returning to work after maternity leave presents numerous challenges, from keeping up with industry changes to managing new family responsibilities. A survey by the Harvard Business Review highlights that 43% of highly qualified women with children leave their careers voluntarily at some point. These statistics underscore the need for more supportive re-entry policies.

“Reentering the workforce after having children posed challenges such as updating skills and managing time effectively. I overcame these hurdles by seeking support from family, utilizing resources like online courses, and gradually easing back into work to find a rhythm that suited both my professional and personal responsibilities,” notes Mehek Rashid, Co-founder of The STEM Lab.

Mehek Rashid, Co-founder of The STEM Lab.

Balancing Career Aspirations with Motherhood

The key to balancing a successful career and motherhood lies in the support systems both at home and in the workplace. FlexJobs reports that 80% of working parents claim flexible work arrangements would make them more loyal to their employers, emphasising the value of policies like remote work and flexible schedules.

“Relying on my family for support has been pivotal in achieving a semblance of balance between my career and personal life,” explains Mariam Iftikhar, Senior Consultant at Tristar Education

Positive Workplace Changes and Continuing Needs

In recent years, there’s been a noticeable shift towards more family-friendly workplace policies, reflecting a broader understanding of the challenges faced by working mothers. Forward-thinking companies have begun implementing changes that significantly enhance the work-life balance for mothers. These initiatives are not just beneficial for the employees but are also proving to be advantageous for the employers by boosting morale, increasing retention, and enhancing overall productivity.

“Initially, working mothers often faced significant stigma, but as societal norms have evolved, there has been a notable shift towards greater acceptance and support for balancing professional and family responsibilities,” says Novera Mughal, CRS at DG Cars.

Advice for Future Working Mothers

Planning and preparation are crucial for mothers considering a career break or reentry into the workforce. Staying connected to one’s professional network during breaks can alleviate some challenges associated with returning to work.

“For other working mothers considering a career break or reentering the workforce, my advice is to prioritise self-care, stay connected to your professional network, and be proactive in seeking support and resources. Don’t be afraid to ask for flexibility or accommodations that meet your needs, and remember that it’s possible to pursue both a fulfilling career and a rewarding family life with careful planning and perseverance,” advises Mehek Rashid, Co-founder of The STEM Lab.


The journey of a working mother is both challenging and rewarding. As societal norms and workplace policies continue to evolve, the path to balancing career and family becomes more accessible. The insights shared by the mothers at Kickstart not only reflect their resilience but also highlight the ongoing need for supportive work environments that foster career growth alongside motherhood.

We encourage our readers to share their experiences and insights on balancing motherhood with career demands. Your stories can inspire change and support others in similar situations. Join the conversation in the comments below and help us build a supportive community for working mothers everywhere.