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Can tech help women find the right balance between a career and a family?

right balance between a career and a family
Image credit: She is Mom startup founders (top to bottom, left to right): Andreea Iacob, Nicoleta Neacsu, Daniela Enache, Alexandra Badea, Andreea Radu.
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“I think that connecting with people can bring you everything,” says Alexandra Badea. She’s the co-founder of the Romanian startup, She is Mom, a tech platform that helps mothers find flexible jobs compatible with having a family. 

The Global Gender Gap Report shows that the pandemic has had a bigger impact on women than men, with many mothers having to step down from their professional responsibilities. Alexandra Badea has noticed the same trend talking to many mothers in 2020 who have lost their jobs. Romanian statistics also show that the numbers of unemployed women are higher than men’s. 

But women were paying a higher professional toll when raising kids even before the pandemic. According to a 2018 study, over 60% of the inactive workforce were women, and 90% of people that stay at home to take care of the house were female

This striking data is what prompted Alexandra to launch She is Mom back in 2019. She was inspired by a woman she met while traveling through Romania – a mom of three working remotely for a corporation

Since then, Alexandra and her team have helped many women make a professional reconversion. They can create an account on She is Mom, take a professional course recommended by a mentor, then come back and apply for a job. 

The platform offers the possibility of creating two-minute videos where women can state their plans. Then, the community shares it across social media to find them the perfect flexible job. 

Alexandra Badea’s background is in HR. In 2014 she co-founded the Talent Center International with the main objective to increase companies’ visibility online and help with the recruitment process. There she met her future co-founders for She is Mom and now they are eyeing international expansion.

The Recursive talked to Badea to find out how technology can help women find a work-life balance.

right balance between a career and a family

The Recursive: How did your previous professional experience help you launch She is Mom in 2019?

Alexandra Badea: It was easy for me because of my previous experience in recruitment. Two years ago, I had a lot of women in my talent center saying that it is too complicated to find flexible employers to go back to work, to the same schedule of nine to five, and to not have any options to go to kindergarten and pick up their children. 

I started researching to see if someone created a solution for this. I didn’t find any and every company told me ‘no, no, we don’t want to have a flexible program for moms’. 

That is when I decided to create this platform, a bridge to bring remote jobs for moms in Romania. But after a focus group with moms, I realized that most of them also need mentoring to be prepared for remote jobs, especially if their previous experience was in a corporate environment. 

Our mission is to educate, motivate, and change the way moms live. The dream is to simplify a mom’s life.

Who is behind the She is Mom tech platform?

We are five founders, all women. I met them in different situations. I have worked in the past with them. I worked at Talent Center International with Andreea Radu, Andreea Iacob, and Daniela Enache, while Nicoleta Neacsu gave up the corporate world last year to be an entrepreneur and a mom.

We have something in common, all of us made a professional reconversion. We are building a tech platform and no one was in tech before. It is an amazing journey, but you have to learn a lot of things every day.

Can you share some statistics about the mothers trying to get back to work?

It’s pretty hard to have numbers because we don’t have accurate statistics in Romania. I find a lot of research in the US and the UK. I also find a lot of competition there, like The Mom Project, Power to fly, and Supermums

They have a lot of solutions for moms and they also offer mentoring, coaching, and professional reconversion statistics. It’s pretty hard to come back to work and it is different from country to country. In Romania, when mothers come back to work after a two-year maternity leave*, it’s very hard to adapt.

[*In SEE, maternity leaves are longer compared to Western countries.]

How big is the She is Mom community right now?

We have 82 mentors at this moment, national and international. We have around 4000 moms, 65 companies that offer benefits for moms, and 12 corporations that we started incorporating this summer. 

Our platform is in English. To use it, women need to know English and have basic digital skills. We want to grow the community and plan to educate women on how to use the platform. 

Our dream is to become international, to create a bridge between Eastern Europe and the US. We already have mentors from Ireland, Germany, Dubai, Turkey, Brazil, and New York. If women have models and mentors from outside of their country, it’s easier to see that it is possible. We want to create this transfer. 

What challenges have you faced in these two years of building the startup?

Two years ago, nobody believed in She is Mom. But I am a dreamer. I will never give up. So I started building the platform in 2020. In the summer we also won an award for Highest Social Impact by Business Review in Romania. 

The challenge was to believe in my idea and not in others’ feedback. If you want to grow a business, especially a startup, you should be there 200%. 

What are the challenges working women with families are facing that you want to help solve?

I think the first excuse is ‘I don’t have time to create my profile. I don’t have time to learn something new. I don’t have any space in my house to work remotely or to have my project’

I want to find a solution to give moms life balance, to have time to learn something new or do something special. They need support and I want to see more husbands motivating their wives to follow their careers. 

If they want to become entrepreneurs, we can also create an ecosystem and we have all the infrastructure to support them. We can help them create a company, as well as find clients.

What is your development phase right now?

I am looking for an investment of €1M. I want to develop mobile apps because moms prefer to spend time on mobile devices. So I would like to build an app for Android and iOS. 

Then, I want to scale She is Mom in the US. So, I need funds for marketing and building the community. I think America has a good market and a good practice model. I like their attitude, it’s proactive. We need a boost of enthusiasm in Romania. 

How do you plan to reach this sum?

I plan to go everywhere, this is one of the reasons that I am going to the Web Summit. I love it there because all the people are so enthusiastic and I meet with a lot of entrepreneurs. I think that connecting with people can bring you everything. 

I am looking for an investor that is also a partner, accepts 10% of the startup, and is ready to mentor us to grow. I want someone who believes in the project.

Our mission is to reinvent the future of work. Both moms and companies need to learn new things to adapt. For this, I think you need a lot of mentors and a strong community to motivate you, but also options we can trust. 

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive with 10+ years of experience as a freelance writer based in Bucharest, Romania. Her mission is to report internationally on the amazing progress of the local startup ecosystems while bringing into focus exponential projects developed in niches like health and education or by female entrepreneurs.