Advance Forward Moms! A Paradigm for an Online Community of Working Mothers That Actually Works

Laura Major

Abstract


This article examines a particular Facebook group that aspires to empower and support working mothers, and, through a narrative and anecdotal approach, analyzes the discourse of the group. The struggles of working mothers in the Western world in general, and in Israel in particular, are ever-present. This article aims to show how in the face of these challenges, this group, through a mother-centred approach of empowerment and community, might be a paradigm for how social media not only reflects the lived experience of working mothers, but can also make changes in the way working mothers see themselves and in the way they face challenges in the personal and professional realms. The foundation of this Israeli Facebook group—called IMAKADIMA: Working and Career-Minded Moms in Israel—is that career and motherhood can and should coexist rather than being an overwhelming juggling act or compromise. At its core is the belief that a community of like-minded working mothers can provide practical and moral support in the areas of work-life balance, and equality in the home and workforce. This article examines various categories of interaction in this group—networking and assistance, work-mother balance, personal development, gender roles, and empowerment—to show that the dominant attitude of mutual encouragement and empowerment outweighs the negative aspects of social media groups.

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We are grateful to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for its ongoing support of the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement.