New Campaign Highlights Shocking Facts about Maternity Discrimination In The Workplace
Did you know that 54,000 women lose their jobs for getting pregnant per year?
Or that 390,000 working mums experience negative and potentially discriminatory treatment at work in the same time?
How about that maternity is a major contributor to the gender pay gap, with women earning 33 per cent less pay per hour than men for the 12 years after they have their first child?
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Despite it being illegal to discriminate based on maternity, the lines remain blurred, and as a result thousands of women are suffering.
Pregnant Then Screwed is the charity looking to end pregnancy and maternity discrimination, running a free legal advice service and shedding light on the stories of women who have felt this firsthand.
This includes women who had no job to return to after their maternity leave due to contract loopholes; women whose male maternity cover took on their job full time upon their return to work; women who were made redundant while on maternity leave; and others who were on the receiving end of unconscious bias or were discriminated against at work, including workload changes or set backs with promotions.
The charity's recent campaign, #12HourGag, saw women share photos of themselves with gagging material over their mouths.
At the crux of the campaign are women that signed non-disclosure agreements offered by their employers to silence them after raising formal grievances around issues relating to maternity.
In many cases, women sign NDAs in what they feel is the only option protect their career and livelihood.
A survey of 260 women who had been forced to sign an NDA after facing pregnancy or maternity discrimination found that 91 per cent of these women felt signing an NDA was their only option.
View this post on InstagramThank you to all the magnificent humans who helped to raise awareness of non disclosure agreements and stood in solidarity with those who have been gagged. A particular thank you to @cee_venables and @hannah_bardell @deebaalinasyed @ginamartin @sholamos1 @juneangelides @philosophiology @carmstrongldn @fnorbyn @wordchild and Helen Pankhurst. We had so much support on social media plus coverage in Stylist, The Telegraph, Grazia and The Creative Review; only two idiots commented that they were happy women are gagged, so all in all I think yesterday was a winner winner chicken dinner. Love you all xx #12hourgag #nda
A post shared by Joeli Brearley (@pregnant_then_screwed) on
The research by the charity also found that a shocking 70 per cent of these women believed the experience had a negative impact on their mental health.
Activists, women's rights lawyers, MPs and women who have suffered maternity discrimination have rallied together for the pivotal campaign.
Among providing a legal service to female workers, Pregnant Then Screwed are lobbying the government for harder legislative change.
In July, the government published a response to its consultation on pregnancy and maternity discrimination which introduced changes including extending redundancy protection for women and new parents.
Joeli Brearley, Founder of Pregnant Then screwed, said: ''Thousands of women every year are bullied, harassed and forced out of their jobs because they dared to use their uterus, then they are legally gagged.
"This silence is deafening, and it's what we want to highlight with this protest today.
"Two years ago, the #metoo movement changed the way we talk about female oppression, but employers are still using legal weapons in the form of NDA's to gag and silence women.
"If we could lift the lid on NDA's there would be a true awakening, that is the new wave of #metoo."
Lets hope this new campaign shines a light on an issue which is clearly still disadvantaging women. It's just not on.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@deebaalinasyed/@hannah_bardell