Research shows young mothers are significantly more likely to experience pregnancy and maternity discrimination, with six times as many under 25 year olds than average reporting being dismissed from their jobs after they tell their employer they are pregnant.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched #PowertotheBump, a digital campaign to help young expectant and new mothers know their rights at work and have the confidence to stand up for them.
Working with charities and employment organisations
The Commission developed the project drawing on the expertise of partners including The Young Women’s Trust, Fawcett Society, Maternity Action, The Royal College of Midwives and the TUC. It is based on the insight and feedback that shows young women had lower awareness of their rights, were typically in less stable employment situations and were worried or lacked confidence to talk to their manager about things that were troubling them – and so felt under pressure to hand in their notice or leave their job than raise issues.
Uses social media communities
Using social media communities, #PowertotheBump will bring together young mothers to share their experiences and knowledge so they are able to assert their rights and challenge any poor treatment which might be discriminatory, and have an impact on themselves and their baby.
The campaign features a new video starring the mum video bloggers Katie Ellison, Jess Avery, Charlotte Louise Taylor and Emily Norris. They share the campaign’s top tips and their own experiences to encourage young mothers to take the right steps to protect themselves at work during pregnancy and to encourage open discussion and planning with their managers.
The campaign will include a programme of widespread digital activity including blogs from young mothers, twitter chats with parenting groups and an online quiz for mums to promote the help and advice available for young mothers on the #PowertotheBump web pages.
Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission's comment
Caroline Waters, Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: "Young working mothers are feeling the brunt of pregnancy and maternity discrimination with more than any other age group being forced out of their jobs, facing harassment and experiencing issues with their health as a result. Often these women aren’t established in their careers, with junior or unstable roles, low paid and reliant on their wage to support themselves and their babies. We want young women to use #PowertotheBump to speak up against this unfairness. They need the knowledge and confidence to raise issues with their employers so they can focus on their health and wellbeing, rather than the negative impacts of this discrimination. We cannot continue to allow these young women to be unfairly held back in the starting blocks of their working lives when they could have the potential to achieve greatness."
One element of Commission's wider strategy
#PowertotheBump is one element of the Commission’s wider comprehensive strategy to address pregnancy and maternity discrimination at work. It includes the recently published recommendations to Government that calls for them to do more to ensure women have access to justice and asks them to take the steps that are needed to stop employers asking women about their plans to have children and pregnancy in job interviews. In addition we’re working with businesses on an upcoming campaign which will be launched later this year.
Find out more about the #PowertotheBump campaign
If you are expecting or bringing up a child, there may be benefits, grants or other financial support available to you.
You may find the following sections of our website helpful:
Expecting a child information
Bringing up a child information
Help with Childcare costs guide
If you are struggling financially, you can also use our Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits and our Grants Search to see if you are eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your personal circumstances and needs.
The Your Situation section on our website contains information resources on benefits and grants and a Find an Adviser tool to help you find face-to-face advice in your local area.
Source: Equality and Human Rights Commission press release: #PowertotheBump unites young mothers fight against against pregnancy and maternity discrimination at work