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In a recently published report, albeit one which the government would prefer working women not to see, it was controversially made public that the number of women forced out of their jobs, through pregnancy and post pregnancy has almost doubled in the last ten years. The new report, focusing on workplace discrimination, was seemingly released with the minimum of fuss and fanfare, in a bid to keep the bad news for working women firmly under wraps. So, in a time where women are encouraged to do it all, are they still being discriminated against in the battle for work life balance?

The Facts

According to the report which can be found in full here and the shocking findings show;

  • Around one in nine mothers (11%) reported that they were either dismissed; made compulsorily redundant, where others in their workplace were not; or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their job; if scaled up to the general population this could mean as many as 54,000 mothers a year
  • One in five mothers said they had experienced harassment or negative comments related to pregnancy or flexible working from their employer and / or colleagues; if scaled up to the general population this could mean as many as 100,000 mothers a year
  • 10% of mothers said their employer discouraged them from attending antenatal appointments; if scaled up to the general population this could mean as many as 53,000 mothers a year.

In regard to pregnancy related matters in the workplace, the report said that;

  • Nearly three in 10 said they were not allowed the flexibility they had requested during pregnancy; in term of hours (29%), start times (24%) or additional breaks (28%)
  • Around one in 12 felt they were treated with less respect by a line manager (8%); or, felt their employer was not happy about them taking maternity leave (8%)
  • One in nine did not feel equally valued by their employer more generally (11%); or said they were treated less favourably in some other way by their line manager as a result of pregnancy (12%)
  • More than one in 20 (7%) said they were put under pressure to hand in their notice.

It’s a Double Burden

Official figures show that the number of stay-at-home mothers has fallen to its lowest level in two decades but women are still facing barriers in the workplace irrespective of their background.

Not only are women dealing with unfair working practices, pregnant or working mothers, are suffering from the psychological stress of managing their careers and family.

Throughout the day they are bombarded with conflicting emotions as they priorities the demands of their partners, children and BOSS. They are consumed with multiple feelings of guilt as they strive to tackle the many shortfalls that rear its ugly head as they struggle to combine their career aspirations with the reality of juggling motherhood.

From child care responsibilities to managing the pension of your newly acquired nanny, decisions are relentless and “mummy guilt” is brutal. Whether it’s making decisions about sending them to the local nursery, child minder or after school club it is important to remember that many women do not have the support of their grandparents or extended family to shoulder their childcare pressures. They often struggle to find good quality, affordable external child care that coincides with their working schedule.

Although many women experience guilt at missing out on the key development stages of their children, this line of thought is aligned to previous studies around emotional attachment. But how relevant is that in modern society. Where is the research that challenges these outdated ideas that do not take into consideration the changing and complex family structure. Working mothers, before you start feeling judged and shamed into MORE guilt because you have interests and goals outside of motherhood, a recent study by Harvard Business School showed women who work and take a ‘non-traditional gender role’ may hold the key to eroding gender inequality. They found girls raised by working mothers are likely to be more successful at work while boys raised by working mothers are likely to spend more time caring for family members.

A Solution

An effective and more fulfilling way for women to get the best of both worlds when it comes to juggling the demands of motherhood and employment, is to set up their own business.

Never has it been easier to build a business based on your passions, beliefs and the lifestyle you crave. With the right support and information you can turn your idea, dream or hobby into reality. Dame Anita Ruddock used her belief in Fairtrade to create the iconic Body Shop. Countless lifestyle businesses have turned into viable businesses and given their owners a lifestyle that would never have been achieved if they had stayed in a JOB!

Running your own business provides independent minded women with the drive, passion, skill set and experience to make a successful transition from employment into self-employment. Although the journey to success can be a rocky one, the rewards far outweigh the difficulties. You get to work on your terms around the needs of your family without being bound by employer restrictions and that nine to five mentality that sends your stress levels soaring on a daily basis!

If you are looking for support to start a business that allows you to shape your ideal career around your family commitments then visit wwww.soniabrown.co.uk

Using her tried and tested and strategic approach to those looking to start a business, Sonia will work with you to identify your goals, provide the tools, support and information you need to turn your dream into a working and viable business.

Visit www.soniabrown.co.uk to start the journey to your business success!