March Of The Mummies: Why 12,000 Mums Are Protesting This Weekend

The march is a national protest to demand government change on childcare and parental leave

March of the mummies

by Maria Lally |
Updated on

This Saturday 29th October, more than 12,000 parents (and counting) will take part in the March Of The Mummies, a protest organised by the charity Pregnant Then Screwed to demand government reform on childcare, flexible working, and parental leave.

Ever since Grazia and The Juggle launched our campaign, Change Childcare Now, we’ve been shouting for more affordable childcare. Over 113,000 of you signed the petition we launched with Pregnant Then Screwed, calling on the government to hold an independent review into the UK’s spiralling childcare costs.

Mothers are set up to fail,’ says Joeli Brearley, CEO and founder of Pregnant Then Screwed. ‘We have unaffordable, inaccessible, dysfunctional childcare in this country due to years of neglect and underfunding by the Government. The result is more and more mums (and it is nearly always the mum) being forced to either leave their job or work fewer hours than they want to. Ultimately, this pushes women and their families into poverty.’

One of the mothers who will be at the march this weekend told us: ‘I'm marching because of the shocking and unacceptable fact that women in their prime of their careers are being forced out of the workplace in their thousands. That we are all being forced to choose between a career and spending time with our children. That families are being forced to choose to have only one child because they cannot afford childcare for two. It doesn't have to be this way.’

Another mother, Gabi from London, told us: ‘I’m marching because early years education and access to the workforce should not be the preserve of higher earners. Our system is pushing families into poverty and women out of the workforce, and we need radical change now.’

Meanwhile, another told us: ‘I am marching to support the wonderful staff at my daughter’s nursery who are underpaid, under qualified, and under supported. I am also marching because I am stuck in a job that is destroying my mental health purely because it just about covers my childcare. I can’t believe in 2022 I have no choice.’

‘I'm marching to show solidarity for all the women that have experienced pregnant related discrimination in the workplace, just like I did 8 years ago,’ says another marcher, Laura. ‘I was made to feel small, insignificant, horrible things were said about me, and it took me a long time to accept the whole process, to be able to afford a solicitor and to fight the case. I am proud to be able to tell my kids that I am marching to raise awareness of better provision and investment. Our country is in a shambles of a state, and now is the time to speak up and be heard.

While one simply told us: ‘I’m marching because putting my baby in nursery for three days a week costs more than my mortgage.’

‘Other countries fund their childcare sector properly as they realise how important it is,’ says Joeli Brearley. ‘Make no mistake, the shambolic mess that our childcare sector is in and the fact that you are paying thousands of pounds for someone else to take care of your child whilst you go to work - these are a political choice. Parents in other countries do not have to put up with this. But that’s just part of the problem, we have the third worst ranking maternity benefit and the worst ranking paternity benefit in Europe. 54,000 women a year get pushed out of their job for daring to procreate. Data shows that mothers are dropping like flies from the workforce.

'Have you had enough yet? Then join us on Saturday the 29th October, when we will be marching for mothers and families everywhere. Come along to one of our family friendly protests, which are taking place in 11 cities across the UK to ensure your voice is heard. We want change now.’ Details of the march can be found here

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