Being a working parent is tough. But it’s even tougher if you’re a working mother.
That’s because mums who choose to return to the workforce after maternity leave are paid less than their working dad equivalents.
According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the pay gap between mothers and fathers widens over the 20 years after a mum returns to work until eventually working mums earn around 30% less than similarly educated dads.
But instead of resting their weary heads on their growing in tray (and laundry!), women have decided to try and do something to change things.
So today, September 12th marks Mums Equal Pay Day.
Not to be confused with actual Equal Pay Day, in November, the day when women effectively start working for free each year, today is specifically about the mums.
And never has it been more needed.
Mums Want Workplace Equali-TEA. Today is #Mumsequalpayday the day mums start working for free compared to equally educated fathers. The Institute of Fiscal Studies has shown that mums earn 30% less than dads by the time their first child is 20. Pls RT pic.twitter.com/1sEpG9fop7
— PregnantThenScrewed (@PregnantScrewed) September 12, 2018
According to an analysis carried out for the Trades Union Congress (TUC) by the Institute for Public Policy Research in 2016, women who have children before the age of 33 are paid 15% less than their childless peers.
And a lower salary isn’t the only struggle mums face.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission calculated that as many as 54,000 mothers a year have been pushed out of the jobs due to maternity discrimination.
Add to that the 77% of expecting or working mums who face prejudice in the workplace and you begin to appreciate that we’ve become a nation where simply giving birth to a child can impact your career and earning potential.
It’s something that campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed are trying to change.
Set up by Joeli Brearley following her own experiences of maternity discrimination in the workplace, initially the group simply provided a platform for women to come forward and share their own stories.
But then it progressed into providing legal support for mums going through employment tribunals and lobbying the Government for change.
Mum’s Equal Pay Day is the latest in a line of powerful campaigns designed to shine a light on the plight of working mums.
As part of the campaign, Pregnant Then Screwed are asking people to post a photo of themselves drinking a cup of tea and post it to social media with the statement: ”Mums Want Workplace EqualiTEA #mumsequalpayday”.
12 Sept is #Mumsequalpayday Today marks the date when mums effectively start working for free, compared to educated dads, due to expensive childcare, lack of good quality flexible working and discrimination. Big shout out to @PregnantScrewed for highlighting this issue #EqualiTEA pic.twitter.com/bYYmRdHmwO
— Michelle Boardman (@mushychelle) September 12, 2018
With two of our team being working mums, we wanted to show our support on #mumsequalpayday. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that mums earn 30% less than dads by the time their first child is 20! Time for some Equali-TEA!! pic.twitter.com/zzGT1M62HV
— Moray Employment Law (@UEL_Moray) September 12, 2018
Commenting on the movement, Joeli Brearley says:
”As Brexit looms we need to focus on building a resilient economy. An economy that supports all its stakeholders to fully participate.
“Motherhood is the key driver of the gender pay gap, but the impact of motherhood could be minimised if we had legislation which encouraged an equal share of domestic duties, free childcare and flexible working as standard.
Joeli says that employers have an equal responsibility to support pregnant women and new mums in the workplace.
As she points out in The Telegraph Joeli says has been over three years since the Government commissioned a report into pregnancy and maternity discrimination – but we are yet to see any real change. In that time, more than 165,000 mums have been pushed out of their jobs.
Pregnant Then Screwed wants the Government and employers to do more to ensure mothers have fair access to the labour market by introducing measures including:
- Giving both parents access to six weeks ringfenced leave at 90 per cent of salary
- Offering universal free childcare for all
- Employers to be forced to report on how many flexible working requests are made and how many are granted
- The self employed to have access to shared parental leave and pay
- To increase the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from three months to (at least) six months
And that’s something the Fawcett Society also supports.
”It makes absolutely no economic sense to not fully utilize the skills and expertise of such a large percentage of our workforce,” Sam Smethers, CEO of the Fawcett Society says.
“The 30% pay gap is a productivity gap. It is in all of our interest to create a labour market and a society that facilitates women being mothers and having a successful career.”
Being a working parent is tough, so the least women deserve is an equal opportunities to progress their careers and get paid fairly for it.
That is why we need to use today as an opportunity to shine a light on the difficulties working mothers face.
“Mums Equal Pay Day is a chance for us to shout about the specific challenges mothers encounter and say enough is enough,” says Joeli.
If anyone needs us we’ll be taking a selfie with our cuppa.
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