A conference held in Poria Illit last month aimed to establish a support system for believing mothers in Israel who balance hands-on parenting with professional fulfillment.
The organizer, Christina Cohen, is herself an entrepreneur and mother of three young children. A dozen women attended the conference, held in the Galilee region, while many more from across the country expressed interest.
Today, many women balance both children and careers. After putting in the effort and financial resources to obtain a university degree or other form of professional training, many women want to use their gifts, passions and talents in the workplace while still being available for their husband and children.
Whether they need to work for financial reasons or want to work because they don’t want to take a complete break from the professional world, most working mothers face the conundrum of spending quality time at both work and home without comprising their availability on either side.
In short, many women want to be working moms and stay-at-home moms simultaneously.
While several options are available, a rising number of women have found that the answer is to start a business or to find an employer that allows them to work from home.
“I spent my twenties and early thirties building a career,” said one participant. “But when I was pregnant with my first, I realized that I didn’t want the stress of arranging my family’s life around the full-time office jobs of both parents.”
There’s no doubt that working from home has its own challenges. Women can feel sometimes that they got the short end of the stick: Being the primary caretaker of a small child (or several) while meeting deadlines and running a household is a challenging undertaking. But many wouldn’t have it any other way.
This is where Cohen’s initiative, the Women of Valor Business Society, comes in.
“Our vision is to create an encouraging environment that supports mothers in integrating parenthood and entrepreneurship. This demographic faces unique challenges that are often overlooked,” she said. “Women who choose to be mothers and wives first, are a blessing to their families and I believe that God wants to bless their endeavors.”
The project’s objectives are:
- To create a supportive community of mothers who are in the same situation
- To encourage women and support them through challenges stemming from combining childrearing with entrepreneurship
- To make available professional and practical content that would otherwise be difficult to access including conferences, meetings and workshops accompanied by a children’s babysitter
- To provide assistance in finding a business idea and then through the process of starting a business
- To encourage and facilitate cooperation between businesses
About a dozen women, mostly residents of northern Israel who are mothers to children ranging in age from babies to pre-teens, attended the initial meeting. The session included introductions, roundtable discussions, group activities, dinner and brainstorming ideas for future meetings.
Plans are already underway to build a website containing the business information of each woman and to lay the groundwork for future collaboration. The next meeting is planned for October.
“We’re praying and looking for a person or organization to back us financially,” Cohen said. “We have a strong desire to reach out to mothers but need external support.”
If you are a believing mother living in Israel and are interested being a part of the Society, write to WOVisrael@gmail.com.