I was a teen mum from a Stoke-on-Trent council estate - I have a great job but still get called stupid

Dr Jessica Taylor when she was younger -Credit:Dr Jessica Taylor/X
Dr Jessica Taylor when she was younger -Credit:Dr Jessica Taylor/X

A woman who is a leading expert in her field has told how she still faces challenges because of her upbringing on a council estate on the 'fringes' Stoke-on-Trent.

Dr Jessica Taylor, who campaigns for women's rights, was brought up in poverty in the Potteries and was still a teenager when fell pregnant with her first child. But despite the hardship she has faced, the 33-year-old has gone on to become a psychologist with a PHD from a renowned university and is a Sunday Times bestselling author with three books under her belt.

Shockingly though, she says her peers in the world of psychology still look down at her because of her working-class background. She claims to have been shamed by many people during her career because she openly talks about what it was like to grow up poor in a deprived city.

The mum-of-two mental health professional, who lives with her teenage sons and wife, admitted she's now proud of her council estate upbringing, even though that wasn't always the case.

READ: I grew up poor in Bentilee and can spot a gold-digger now I'm worth £1.5bn John Caudwell spent a largely unhappy 'street urchin' childhood in Shelton and Bentilee

She wrote on X: "I remember growing up poor as f*** and hating living on a council estate. Now I love that I grew up there cos it gave me the connection to real poverty & real life I need to be a great psychologist and activist. Ain't enough of us in this field,"

Speaking to MailOnline, Jessica - a self-confessed swot at school - revealed it was this classism in her field of academia that lead to her writing her latest book, Underclass, which has just been published. She said: "I never expected to be framed as stupid, dangerous and unsophisticated just because of where I come from and my childhood."

Dr Jessica Taylor, who campaigns for women's rights -Credit:Dr Jessica Taylor/X
Dr Jessica Taylor, who campaigns for women's rights -Credit:Dr Jessica Taylor/X

Writing on X, she added: "I’ve been dragged through the mud for years now. I’ve been isolated and outcast repeatedly. I’ve been publicly humiliated, lied about and abused every single day for years."

Speaking to BBC's Woman's Hour, Jessica revealed she was even told to stop talking about her upbringing altogether, as well as the abuse she faced and her teenage pregnancy.

It wasn't until one colleague allegedly sent an email to Jessica's entire department saying that she would "bring the entire field into disrepute" because of her background that Jessica realised her past wasn't so far behind her.

"I just couldn't believe my eyes," she said. "I thought I was here because I was smart, I thought I was here because I was capable."

But as far as her colleagues were concerned being raised poor meant Jessica wasn't 'one of them'. Despite what the naysayers from her own field of work might think, or email, Jessica said her upbringing gives her more of an 'edge' as a psychologist.

"I have been in situations that other people have only read about," she continued. It's these hard-hitting experiences that she said make her better at her job, not worse.

Now Jessica, who attended Kingsfield First School, is hoping to bring attention to the classism people face in her field of work, as well as in universities across the UK.

She said: "So many working class academics and professionals are treated like they are thick, uncouth, uncivilised and incompetent. The class system in the UK is one of the worst in the world – and we barely even speak of it."

Underclass, published by Little Brown, is out now

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