It’s been revealed that three out of four working mothers have experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace in their professional lives. Half of mothers asked, believe that maternity leave has a negative impact on their career and can affect their future progression.
As well as these shocking statistics, it has been said that 70% of employers believe that women should disclose whether or not they are pregnant during an interview and when they are applying for jobs, and interviewers also believe that it is acceptable to ask if women are planning to have children. Why is this? You may ask, well employers have revealed that they would rather choose a candidate who is going to be in the company for the “long-term” as opposed to a candidate who is going to make a family.
Businesses are still tied in with the archaic notion that women are fulfilling their sole purpose when having a child, and that this will control every aspect of her life, and her career will fall behind after this. This patriarchal notion favours male candidates over females and can have a negative impact on the decision-making process if a woman states that she would like to have children in the future.
Progression not yet in sight:
Far from showing progression, another report from the ECHR (European Convention of Human Rights) showed that the attitudes for mothers who return from maternity leave are being treated unfairly. Many business owners attitudes have deteriorated massively and in the past year alone, 54,000 women returning back to work have been turned away in the UK and Europe, and in 11% of US mothers asked, stated that they were either dismissed, made compulsorily redundant and others in the workplace were mistreated, harassed and demoted.
Employment horror stories:
One of the most common discriminatory stories is that of a woman who was “guaranteed” to receive a promotion at work, and had to do an interview as a formality. The day before the interview, she informed her employer that she was pregnant and did not get offered the promotion. When she asked why, the employer informed her that he had consulted with his wife, who had informed him that the employees priorities are going to change.
Another well-known story is of a woman who returned to work after 12 months of maternity leave and was branded as “selfish” by her employer, for leaving a child under five. It’s this attitude and presumption that a woman’s sole purpose will become to look after her child,and that everything else will be, or should be, put on the back-burner and given up, in order to fulfill the archaic expectation that women should be “stay at home moms”.
We are living in a progressive society, where there is still underhanded oppression and these values that lead to women being pushed out of work and shunned because of pregnancy, maternity, and in some cases solely because they have a uterus. In order to achieve a truly progressive and equal workplace, it’s important to create a dialogue, and a support network against this form of discrimination and together, fight against this digression.