It’s September 26th, otherwise known as the most common day to give birth all year, so naturally, in the spirit of this-is-what-it-means-to-be-a-woman, we have some bad news about pregnancy discrimination. New research has found that one in five employers’ frown upon women if they become pregnant within the first year of a new job.
According to a survey carried out by YouGov for the Young Women’s Trust, a charity supporting women aged 16-30 with low or no income, pregnant women are not only frowned upon, but also discriminated against when it came to promotions at the same rate of one in five.
‘The level of discrimination that Young Women’s Trust has uncovered against young mothers who are in work or looking for jobs is shocking,’ says Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton, ‘It is in everyone’s interest to help young mothers who want to work. They have a huge amount to contribute to their workplaces and many want to be financially independent and support their families.’
Of course, discrimination against women with children is no breaking news. Earlier this year, the charity also revealed that 43% of young women with children were facing maternity discrimination at work.
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Despite the push for shared parental leave, the benefits of flexible working being screamed from the rooftops and the fact that you’re literally not allowed to discriminate against pregnant women by law, it seems employers are still stuck in an archaic way of thinking.
So, what will it take to change their minds that a pregnant woman doesn't automatically mean she's off the job market? Well clearly a cultural shift is in order to educate employers that women don't solely bear the burden of childcare, but since this will most likely take years, all we can do is report cases of pregnancy discrimination and speak up when we suspect it's occurring, for ourselves and others.
If we can't educate employers our of their ignorance, we can at least report them for this disparity, says Grazia's Georgia Aspinall.