My skills got me hired, my womb got me fired. #cipdbigconvo

This Halloween, Pregnant Then Screwed’s ‘March of the Mummies’ is infecting a city near you in order to demand recognition, respect and change for working mums. Haunting London, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow with an eerie presence in the form of hundreds of hard-working parents, the campaign aims to end pregnancy and maternity discrimination and enhance the economic empowerment of women.

In the UK, the number of women who lose their jobs when, or shortly after, getting pregnant has almost doubled in the last 10 years. 54,000 women, are pushed out of their jobs each year (EHRC, 2016). Why? You ask. The simple answer is, for daring to procreate. These stale, stubborn and archaic- minded employers are keen to dump experienced and committed women despite our economy being dependant on getting women back to work post-baby. Women are quite literally being punished for raising the next generation workforce – those that will be running our country in years to come.

It comes as no surprise that 56% of working part time mums feel that they have had to settle for a lower skilled job as they are unable to work full time anymore, with 44% of them doing so because quality childcare is also unaffordable (Resolution Foundation, 2012). For most mothers, it is a case of having to work as well as wanting to, yet childcare is currently only subsidised from 3 years, despite support being needed when the maternity period comes to an end. This is why the time for change is now. Until equal importance is placed on caring and working, with legislation and policy reflecting this, our economy will continue to suffer as will families across the country. Our demand for companies to report on how many flexible working requests are made and granted will hold businesses accountable, ensuring that women are able to continue to thrive in the workplace in a way that meets the needs of both company and family. Flexible working has not only been proven to increase productivity and motivation but it is vital in keeping women in the workplace with both career and motherhood firmly under their belt.

But let’s get one thing straight – this isn’t just a ‘mummy’ issue. It’s a people issue. Part of a wider discussion that includes and questions the role of men in society also. For what feels like an eternity now, men have been ready and willing to be part and parcel of their children’s lives in the exact same capacity to a mother, yet until legislation changes to feasibly allow this to be possible, how can we equip both men and women to work and care in equal measures? Shared Parental Leave is a start, however given that men are usually paid more than their women counterparts, it is impractical and most of the time impossible for men to take the majority or even equal amount of parental leave. Fathers are guaranteed two weeks off when their baby arrives, but in reality two weeks at Statutory Pay is appalling in comparison to what mothers are entitled to. This is why we are demanding for fathers to be able to access 6 weeks non-transferable paternity leave paid at 90% of their salary, so that it is equal and equivalent to maternal pay.

March of The Mummies is asking for five immediate changes to legislation to end pregnancy and maternity discrimination, as well as provide access to justice where such discrimination occurs. These demands are:

1) Increase the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from 3 months to (at least) 6 months for pregnant and postpartum women.

2) Require companies to report on how many flexible working requests are made and how many are granted.

3) Give fathers access to 6 weeks non-transferable paternity leave paid at 90% of salary.

4) Give the self employed access to statutory shared parental pay.

5) Subsidise childcare from 6 months old, rather than 3 years old.

Join us at 12noon on the 31st October, dressed as mummies (the walking dead kind) to reflect that our policies are of a bygone era. With celebrity speakers and MP’s marching alongside us in all cities, the voices of women and men in their thousands will be heard.

March of the Mummies will take place in London, Glasgow, Manchester, Belfast, Newcastle and Cardiff. For more information visit: www.marchofthemummies.com

Kristina Collins

Pregnant Then Screwed

Follow us on Instagram: @pregnant_then_screwed

Or Twitter: @pregnantscrewed

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s