A new study has shed light on the obstacles that pregnancy places on working women.
Some 56% of British mothers think they would be further in their careers if they didn’t have children, according to a nationwide survey of 1,000 full-time working women conducted by watchshop.com. 33% said they felt guilty if they have to miss work because of their children.
Quoted in the Independent, Joeli Brearley, Founder of the online project Pregnant Then Screwed said: “In a work environment, maternity leave is normal, paternity leave longer than two weeks is not. Therefore women tend to bear the brunt of childcare responsibilities, even when there are two working parents in the family.”
This “brunt” continues throughout their return to work. Research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission concluded that up to 54,000 annually lose their jobs due to workplace discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers.
“They are more likely to seek part-time or flexible work and as a result are often overlooked for promotion or added responsibilities. If the company is not willing to offer flexible working, then they need a valid business reason”, Brearley continued.
Further research last year research by mumsnet.co.uk found that 12% of working mothers thought employers didn’t discriminate against working mums, compared to 49% of mums that thought they did.
Gillian Nissim, Founder of Working Mums, said “there is room for a lot of creative thinking on how to make work culture more family-friendly. Some have argued that it is too expensive for businesses to move to more agile working patterns, but the survey demonstrates the costs of not doing so in terms of the loss of skilled staff.”