Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 21% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. But companies are struggling to put their commitment into practice.

According to the US Department of Labor, women now hold more than half of payroll positions in the US, yet an estimated 43% of women leave the workforce after becoming mothers. Do these conflicting statistics really allow for women to thrive professionally after starting a family?

It was during my own maternity leave with my first son in 2016 that I came across that data and realized there was a gap in the market for women returning to their previous professions. I wanted to create a future where women won’t have to choose between career and family. Hence, The Mom Project was born.

The Mom Project is a digital talent marketplace that seamlessly connects talented women with companies eager for their skills and experience. By supporting a range of work types — part-time, full-time, contract — with companies that understand our mission, we ensure parents, careers (and companies) can all thrive simultaneously.

Women staying engaged in the workforce, on their terms, is good for families and for businesses. And women need to remain fully engaged in their careers. They need — they deserve — respect. Respect as professionals, as mothers, as humans with evolving needs. And respect for a refined, strengthened, skill set that drives business forward.

Trusted guides. Because The Mom Project is not trying to minimize one of the most important considerations in their decision matrix — their families — our members are three times more likely to engage with an opportunity through us than through traditional outreach.

Why does this work? We are able to reach moms and understand their needs. They view The Mom Project as the curator and gatekeeper of family friendly companies and practices. Our platform remains as a constant companion and trusted guide, delivering the solutions a mom needs at every point along the journey. Some of the ways we support our community include:

Variety of opportunities. Whether looking for full-time on-site, fully remote, or part-time and project-based roles, our platform connects women with jobs that meet their individual needs for work and life integration.

Mom-centric platform. We build our product with moms’ needs front and center, including the ability to negotiate important factors like compensation and flexibility, and our proprietary match algorithm — built by women for women — which is rooted in behavioral science (not just technical skills) to match fairly and accurately.

Addressing job search pain points. From our new résumé-builder tool that helps our community refresh their résumés and position a career pause, to a partnership with Urban Sitter to offer free childcare for interviews, we help address the job search pain points many moms face.

Partnering with the best employers. We work hard to earn the trust of our community, which means that we only partner with companies committed to building a better workplace for all, ranging from startups to the Fortune 500.

Supporting transitions. We also offer solutions to support women (and the companies they work for) through key transitions of working motherhood. Our trademarked Maternityship program provides back- fill maternity leave coverage while connecting other women with meaningful, project-based work, empowering new moms to take the time they need to bond with their babies and acclimate to motherhood. Through Returnships, we help support women returning to paid work after a career pause by connecting them with opportunities at employers committed to helping them successfully transition back to the workforce.

It’s time to put an end to the motherhood penalty and unlock the full potential of moms in the workplace. Diversity and inclusion should be a standard, not a buzzword, in 2020. Considering 86% of working mothers will leave a job for an opportunity that better supports their work and life considerations, it’s time all businesses take the lead in support of that balance.