Celebrating one year of #FlexiMamas
A year ago, I had an idea.
I’d recently read that 29% of UK women drop out of the workforce after having a baby. This shocked me…and yet it didn’t.
Yes, some of these women voluntarily leave work because they want to spend time with their baby. But many of them feel like they’re forced out of the workplace because of lack of flexible working options, affordable childcare or family-friendly job opportunities. And that’s shit.
I wanted to share stories from women who wanted to work but couldn’t, or struggled to. I figured there were a lot of them out there.
And I was right. The #FlexiMamas series was born.
Over the past 12 months, I’ve shared 20 stories from women who, in one way or another, struggled to work after having a child. One mother couldn’t afford the bus fare to work as well as childcare for two kids. One struggled to find an employer that would give her the flexibility she needed to care for her child with additional support needs. Another lost out of job opportunities when she admitted that she had a small child during job interviews. Yet another struggled with nursery fees that cost more than her mortgage – for only three days a week.
What’s changed in the past year?
Not a whole hell of a lot, really. This is still happening to women all across the country in all different fields, far more often than it should. But I’ve discovered that there are a lot of great women (and a few great men) out there who are as passionate about flexible working as I am. If you want to connect with some fellow #FlexiMamas, or just find out more about your options and rights, here are some great organisations:
- Pregnant Then Screwed – Founder Joeli is an absolute warrior, standing up against maternity discrimination and tirelessly advocating for flexible working. Pregnant Then Screwed offers a free legal advice line and flexible working helpline, as well as mentors for women going through employment tribunals.
- Work It Out – A joint venture between Pregnant Then Screwed and fellow flexi lady Mother Pukka, this forum is a place where working parents can get support around the challenges that they face.
- 9-2-3 Jobs – This recruitment agency specialises in placing professional candidates in jobs with flexible hours.
- 2-to-3 Days – An online community connecting employers with capable and committed mothers seeking stimulating part-time work.
- Digital Mums – Gets mums job-ready with social media and digital skills so they can find rewarding roles that sync with family life. They’re also big supporters flexible working and the idea that we can all have #WorkThatWorks.
- Family Friendly Working Scotland – Works with employers and government to promote flexible working in Scotland. They’re part of the UK-wide Working Families charity group.
- Work For Mums – Search for flexible and homeworking opportunities on this site for mums, run by a mum.
So what’s next?
I’d like to maybe build up a #FlexiMamas community where women can come to chat about all things flexi, get support and generally stick it to the man. But mostly I want to keep telling women’s stories.
We can’t stop talking about this. We need to be heard.
If you faced barriers to going back to work after having a baby, I’d love to share your story. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Let’s keep fighting the good fight, ladies.