I was taking my friend Tracey and her Siamese cat to the vet recently, and as we were driving along the seafront she turned on the radio to listen to Women’s Hour. We couldn’t believe what we were hearing. The presenter was asking Yvette Cooper about whether or not she felt that she could become the leader of the Labour party job because of her husband, Ed Balls When did a woman’s husband begin to define her and her career prospects?
It seems that more and more women are opting to have babies later on in life due to various reasons. I can tell you from my own experience that the financial burden that having a baby brings is often cited as a major factor. Women are now much more focused upon developing their own careers than having children as well compared to say 15 – 20 years ago.
After being so alarmed at what I was hearing, I decided to ask around my own group of friends to see if they had ever experienced maternity discrimination in the workplace. Most of them were able to recall a story about themselves or friends of theirs who had been treated unfairly due to being pregnant. I was disturbed to hear all sorts of examples of sexism and discrimination. Many of them had to endure all kinds of negative comments upon returning to work and even claimed that the opportunities available to them in the workplace had also diminished upon their return.
Despite the strides that we, as women, have taken towards equality in the workplace, it seems that maternity discrimination is still alive and well in 2015. Young women are apprehensive about having a baby due to the fact that taking maternity leave is frowned upon and rarely allows women to simply pick up from where they left off. The sad reality is that 54,000 women a year lose their jobs due to having a baby. It seems as though I am not the only one and even Yvette Cooper has spoken out about the exact same thing.
It is unbelievable that such attitudes towards women still exist in 2015. My hubby and I have recently been talking about us having a baby together. I had been looking forward to having a little one of my own before discovering the extent of the attitudes facing women today. Hopefully now that the true extent of the discrimination facing pregnant women has been made public, more can be done to ensure that all women are treated with fairness and equality whether they are pregnant or not.