New Campaign Helping Young Expectant And New Mothers Stand Up Against Discrimination At Work

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald May 18, 05:00 am

Young expectant and new mothers often face discrimination at work. A new digital campaign called #PowertotheBump is helping these moms stand up against the inequality they face at work and know their rights.

Unsuitable Working Conditions

Around 6 percent of young moms under the age of 25 said they were dismissed by their employers when their pregnancy became known, BT reported. The reasons behind their dismissal are pregnancy-related illnesses or simply because they were pregnant. The mothers weren't offered the same training and promotion prospects as well.

Caroline Waters, Equality and Human Rights Commission's Deputy Chairwoman, said young working mothers are also facing harassment and health issues thanks to pregnancy and maternity discrimination, BT further reported. Majority of these women are usually in junior or unstable positions, are low paid and dependent on their income to support their child.

Plenty of young mothers don't qualify for statutory Maternity Pay because they are still doing low-wage work to develop their CVs, the Huffington Post reported. The combination of high childcare cost, low wages, responsibilities as a mother and their boss' job expectation can be difficult for young moms to juggle.

#PowertotheBump Encourages Young Moms To Speak Up

The campaign, which was launched by the EHRC, is helping young mothers be aware of their rights. Oftentimes, these young mothers are also hesitant when it comes to talking about their supervisors and employers about the issues they face at work. They are afraid of speaking up because they might lose their much-needed jobs.

#PowertotheBump will roll out a digital program that will feature blogs from young moms, Twitter chats with parenting groups and an online quiz. The campaign encourages young mothers to discuss their situations with their employers early on, lessen their stress and plan their maternity leaves in advance.

#PowertotheBump also encourages young moms to use their right for sensible time off for appointments with their OB-GYN, and to ensure that their working environment is safe for them. Ten percent of mothers under 25 years old admitted they left their jobs because of unresolved and safety risks while 15 percent felt being pressured to hand in their resignation letters after getting pregnant, the EHRC wrote.

Amy Leversidge, employment relations advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, said women who miss antenatal appointments fail to undergo important screening tests and important advice around nutrition and dangerous habits like smoking, EHRC reported. Anxiety, depression and stress for work discrimination can harm not just the mothers' health, but also their unborn child's.

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