There’s a website called Pregnantthenscrewed.com. Yep, that’s Pregnant. Then. Screwed. Set up by the brilliant Joeli Brearley – who was sacked at four months pregnant – it’s a forum for women to share stories of discrimination from bosses who seem to think it’s OK to be a massive bell-end.
It’s worth mentioning this venting ground because new research landed in my Instagram feed yesterday from Maternity Action. These are the deets: 100,000 pregnant women and new mothers experience negative comments or harassment at work each year. Then there’s the 54,000 – compared to 30,000 in 2005 – women who were dismissed or forced out of their jobs because they became pregnant.
“This is a huge problem that is seriously affecting women’s careers and confidence,” said Brearley in a recent interview in Stylist Magazine. “I believe these statistics are just the tip of the iceburg.”
I think it’s the fact that things are getting worse that made me baulk. I naively meander through life thinking the majority are doing their bit to make the world a better place – sure it’s not perfect, but we must have come on leaps and bounds from Emmeline Pankhurst’s bra-burning days.
But it seems that isn’t so. Apparently there needs to be a responsible adult supervising the whole time, otherwise some people will just disappear off for a quick fag behind the rubbish bins. I do love a good fag behind the rubbish bins but not when it leaves companies shitting all over my life.
“We’re putting your fallopian tubes under lock-and-key” were the words (referenced in Stylist Magazine’s article ‘The Truth About Maternity Leave’) said to one mother before her boss continued: “We’re pleased with everything you’ve done but we don’t want to give you this promotion if you’re going to get pregnant in the next few years.” What’s shocking is that she wasn’t even upset – it was the norm in her department.
Like with any big assemblies of people, there need to be rules and there need to be people checking those rules – from maternity discrimination to unequal pay, companies really should know (and do) better. Just because the ‘teachers’ rule the roost, doesn’t mean they’re exempt from a quick chastisement if they start acting like Mariah Carey in her ‘need peeled grapes before entering the building’ phase.
“One headhunter told me the majority of his clients do not want women put forward for interview if they are child-bearing age,” adds Brearley. Truly, who are these people? For every coffee-breathed discriminatory boss, there is, of course, a good egg – but surely the essential task of creating life shouldn’t result in a tale of two halves?
To those bosses, all I have to ask is, ‘what would your mother say?’
Quote source: Stylist Magazine