Silent epidemic of discrimination against working mothers

UNISON is calling for “a cultural shift” to end discrimination against pregnant women and mothers returning to work.  The union, which has 1m women in membership, called it a disgrace that a new survey has found that more than one in four mothers feel discriminated against.

This survey shows the slow rate of progress since 2005 when the Equal Opportunities Inquiry into Pregnancy Discrimination found that each year 45% of working women
experienced pregnancy discrimination.  

Karen Jennings, Assistant General Secretary of UNISON, said:

“It is a disgrace that in 2013 women should still be missing out on promotion or treated as second class workers.

“This research shows that the Equality Act is failing working mothers as thousands of women continue to suffer in silence while bosses discriminate in the shadows.

“Many women feel pressured into returning to work before they are ready, to try and protect their position in the workplace.  This is a growing problem with employers targeting women returners for redundancy selection, despite the legislation.
“Unless there is a wholesale cultural shift across workplaces this silent epidemic is only going to get worse.  The introduction of tribunal fees is making it more difficult for women to challenge discrimination by employers, coupled with rampant cuts to employment rights.”

“UNISON is continuing its case for a Judicial Review into fees for employment tribunals and has also vowed to cover the cost for its members.”