By Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed

On Tuesday 31st October at midday people across the UK will march in support of better rights for mothers.

Mothers get a raw deal, they are highly likely to encounter workplace discrimination with 54,000 women a year being pushed out of their job for daring to procreate and 77% of working mums enduring negative or discriminatory treatment in the workplace. Motherhood is also a key contributor to the gender pay gap with women who have had children by the age of 33 earning 15 per cent less than their peers who remained childless. Women even face discrimination for simply having a womb with 40% of employers saying they would avoid hiring a woman of childbearing age. Yet, under-utilisation of women’s skills costs the UK economy up to £36 billion.

Far from improving, the situation is drastically deteriorating with the number of mothers who experience discrimination almost doubling in the last 10 years.

In 2016 a Government commissioned report on this issue highlighted how extensive pregnancy and maternity discrimination is and made various recommendations for change. The Women and Equalities Select Committee echoed many of these recommendations when they concluded their own inquiry. Since then 67,000 women have lost their jobs for daring to procreate and the Government is yet to make any positive steps to decrease discrimination against working mums.

In response to this, the campaign group I founded, Pregnant Then Screwed, are organising a major demonstration to put pressure on the Government to update our archaic legislation. We want to see better protections for working mums, access to flexible working and legislation which will enable and encourage equality in the home, as well as subsidised childcare so families can afford to work.

March of the Mummies will take place at Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square and we will march to Parliament Square where we will present MPs with 5 demands for change. Sister marches will take place in Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff and others soon to be announced.

The march is being supported by the Women’s Equality Party, The Fawcett Society, Working Families, Digital Mums, The Lullaby Trust and Yess Law, amongst others. The MP Caroline Lucas will be speaking alongside Helen Skelton (TV presenter), Sophie Walker (leader of the Women’s Equality Party) and Anna Whitehouse (AKA Mother Pukka, a prolific blogger and campaigner).

The event will be attended by families who will dress up as mummies (the walking dead kind) to represent the archaic legislation that is in place, which in turn creates gender inequality in the home and the workplace.

March of the Mummies 5 demands:

  • Increase the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from 3 months to (at least) 6 months
  • Require companies to report on how many flexible working requests are made and how many are granted
  • Give fathers access to 6 weeks non-transferable paternity leave paid at 90% of salary
  • Give the self-employed access to statutory shared parental pay
  • Subsidise childcare from 6 months old, rather than 3 years

If you care deeply about this issue then please join us at 12 midday on 31st October at your closest march to demand recognition, respect and change because women deserve to have both a family and a career.

Register your attendance to The March of the Mummies here.

To find out more visit: www.marchofthemummies.com 

About Author

Joeli Brearley, founder of the pregnant then screwed

Founder of the 'Pregnant then Screwed' campaign, Joeli is a campaigner for gender equality, a creative producer and project manager, and a mother of two young boys.