By Elisa Freeling

Do you believe women have a right to both a family and a career? Fancy that, so do we! Yet a UK government study last year found that more than three-quarters of mothers said they had a ‘negative or possibly discriminatory experience’ while pregnant, on mat leave or upon their return to work, with 11 percent saying they ultimately felt forced to leave their job. (Meanwhile, an earlier study found that a third of British working mothers are their families’ primary breadwinners, even though men are still paid a lot more, and on and on it goes.)

Another revelation was that more than half of mothers who had been granted flexible working hours—a seemingly good thing—felt that it ‘resulted in negative consequences’. And here’s a find that’s disturbing for its insidiousness: 10 percent of pregnant women ‘were discouraged from attending antenatal appointments’.

In an effort to change this sorry state of affairs, the aptly named Pregnant Then Screwed has organised a March of the Mummies this Halloween, Tuesday the 31st of October 2017.

So what do they want? Here are their demands:

  1. Increase the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from 3 months to (at least) 6 months for pregnant and postpartum women.
  2. Require companies to report on how many flexible working requests are made and how many are granted.
  3. Give fathers access to 6 weeks non-transferable paternity leave paid at 90% of salary.
  4. Give the self-employed access to statutory shared parental pay.
  5. Subsidise childcare from 6 months old, rather than 3 years old. 

Seem reasonable enough? Then come on down and join the protest—there are some fun banner ideas on their website. Want to take action from home in the meantime? Here are their suggestions.

The march begins in Trafalgar Square at 12pm on Halloween day before making its way to Westminster. Sister protests will take place simultaneously in Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast. For more information, check out March of the Mummies’ website.

Elisa Freeling
Author

Elisa moved to London a decade ago from San Francisco, where, in pre-children days, she was the managing editor at Sierra magazine. She lived in Brook Green, Notting Hill and Chiswick before settling in Northfields, where she lives with her book-loving daughter, architecture-loving son, and thickly moustachioed husband.

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