Now that the documentary has been edited and is ready to be published. I thought I would reflect on what I’ve found out and what I’ve learned since starting the project in October.
At first, I did not know that the motherhood penalty actually existed but looking at the vast amount of responses I am getting on social media tells me otherwise. I started the documentary after talking to a friend about the career and children situation and my response was that I was going to wait until I was high up in my career but then I might have second thoughts about having a child at that particular time as well. My friend said she wasn’t planning to have children at all. It then occurred to me that I shouldn’t be having to schedule a baby around my career and figure out the best time to have a child because there is never a best time.
As my documentary progressed, some amazing conferences and meetings have been happening that are discussing the issue of discrimination. The Women and Equalities Committee and the Equality and Human Rights Commission have started running campaigns and conventions to end discrimination against mothers in the workplace.
Looking at the statistics from organisations like EHRC and going through my own survey results, they have a clear correlation that women are not fighting against discrimination and believe that having children will be detrimental to their career.
I’m hoping that my documentary will inform other women of their rights especially after they become a mother and show women that they are not alone.
Disadvantages in pay, employment and job promotion are still happening to women across the world. It is an ongoing issue that will continue to appear in the media until something is done about it.
And the results are in from the motherhood paradox survey that I released roughly two weeks ago.
Thanks to everyone who took part in the survey and shared it with friends and colleagues on social media. Some of the big statistics that stood out are as followed:
- 66% said that having children will affect their career.
- 42% said that when they have a child that they will be less committed to their job.
- 85% would consider flexible working when they have children
These statistics reinforce why I decided to create the project in the first place because they show how people really feel about pursuing a career and having children. Flexible working and shared parental leave are the popular vote in this survey and could be the future for working parents.
In a couple of my interviews, Shared Parental Leave was one of the hot topics that was discussed.
Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is a fairly new right that gives mothers, fathers, partners and adopters a chance to share time off work after a child is born.
It is compulsory for mothers to take two weeks off after birth of a child and from there they can cut their maternity leave short or exchange for shared parental leave with their partner.
Shared Parental Leave gives parents the flexibility to share out up to 50 weeks of leave and even lets parents take leave in blocks instead of all in one go.
However, Trades Union Congress (TUC) says that two in five fathers in work will not be eligible for shared parental leave, mainly because their partner is not in paid work. Parents must make sure that they are eligible for Shared Parental Leave
SPL must be taken between the baby’s birth and first birthday or within one year of adoption.
If you are thinking of choosing Shared Parental Leave, click here to check to see if you’re eligible and for more information on how to apply.
And for more guidance go to the Acas website.
The christmas period is now officially over so now it is back to editing the radio documentary into a 7 minute final piece.
After getting feedback from my tutor about my rough cut, I have decided to switch parts of the narrative around so that the piece flows better. I have come to the realisation that I have too many voices so the hardest part of the project so far is deciding which voices to leave out of the final piece for submission.
Whilst editing I created a survey to develop my own research on the issue. You can be involved in the survey below.
Amy Shaw is not only pregnant but she is an employment lawyer at DC Solicitors in Hampshire. She gets weekly enquiries into pregnancy and maternity discrimination claims and what the process is. Amy lives by a few steps in which she goes through before letting her claimant take in to the tribunal.
Here’s some advice for women who are thinking of making a discrimination claim for Amy Shaw.
I talked to Jessica Chivers, the author of Mothers Work!, about the motherhood penalty and how she helps women return back to work. She believes that flexible working is the way forward, not just mothers but for people in general. She believes if we extend the time limit on Shared Parental Leave and let women work from home at least one day a week this could change the playing field. Here’s a segment of my interview with her.
At the moment, I am in the middle of editing the documentary and I’m adding all the my interviews that I have so far into a rough cut.
Here are some interesting statistics that I found in reports from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and AAT.
I decided to create a little infographic with all the important facts and figures relating to the motherhood penalty.
Pregnant then Screwed is a place for women to report their discrimination anonymously and get free legal advice from a helpline. The project highlights the on-going mistreatment of pregnant women and mothers in the workplace and the amount of women who are speaking out against it.
I spoke to the founder, Joeli Brearley, who told me more about the project and her advice for women who are experiencing/experienced discrimination in the workplace.
The UK’s leading qualification and membership body for vocational accountants, AAT, released a new survey that examined the attitudes towards women in the modern workplace. The survey found that over half of British mothers feel they have been held back at work after having children.
The survey involving 2,000 UK mothers, also found that 52% of women who are yet to have children fear that doing so in the future may impact their career.
The survey reported that one in five mothers claimed to have been passed over for promotion and one in ten have been denied a pay rise after giving birth.
One in eight women said they had been told that having kids would be detrimental to their career opportunities, and 12% are putting off having children for the time being as a result.
The AAT have done some extensive research into the issue and have produced a white paper on what employers and employees can do about it. You can find the document here.
Here’s a little snippet from my interview with CEO of Woodcut Productions, Kate Beal. We talked about how hard it is to have children whilst trying to get far in your career. We also went into depth about how we can solve the motherhood penalty and how flexible working is the way forward. It was lovely to speak to Kate for The Motherhood Paradox and I hope she likes the end product. Keep coming back to this blog for constant updates.