The Guardian recently reported that a third of UK employers believe that women should inform if they are pregnant at an interview. This was found in a recent survey by YouGov. The survey was conducted among 1,106 senior decision-makers. The survey further revealed that a third of those working for private companies thought it was reasonable to ask a woman about her plans to have children in the future during the recruitment process.
Around 59% said that women should have to disclose if they are pregnant. Around 46% said it was also reasonable to ask a woman if she had small children.
Our new research, out today, reveals that UK recruitment is stuck in the dark ages. Follow the conversation using #maternitywrongs and find out more: https://t.co/8XY5f9KF0S pic.twitter.com/7gDThKXbS9— EHRC (@EHRC) February 19, 2018
Rebecca Hilsenrath, the chief executive of the EHRCC, said the findings were “depressing”. She also accused many British companies of “living in the dark ages”.
Further 44% of employers believed women should work for at least a year before deciding to have children. As reported by The Guardian, “According to the EHRC survey, 40% of employers claim to have seen at least one pregnant woman in their workplace 'take advantage' of their pregnancy, and about a third believe new mothers in work are 'generally less interested in career progression' compared with other employees. Four in 10 employers agree that pregnancy in the workplace puts 'an unnecessary cost burden' on the workplace.”
To tackle pregnancy-based discrimination, The EHRC has launched Working Forward, a campaign to improve workplaces for pregnant women and new parents. EHRC is urging individuals and companies to sign up for a pledge to support the cause.
However, EHRC is not the only one focusing on ending this discrimination. “Pregnant Then Screwed” is a website that provides a platform for women to speak about their experiences of discrimination. The Telegraph in 2016 had published a similar story with the headline “Maternity discrimination is pushing women out of work". It’s 2018 and the current report shows that nothing has improved.
While pregnancy-based discrimination is punishable by law, in the UK the general attitude towards the issue has no solution. The report is depressing as it shows that top decision makers of private companies have such thoughts and feelings.
What are your thoughts on the issue? Let us know.
Reshma Ganeshbabu is an intern with SheThePeople.TV