Thanks to flexible working, I was able to leave my office for a few hours at lunchtime yesterday and do a bit of protesting in support of…flexible working.
The March of the Mummies took place in London, Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle on Halloween. The aim was to petition the government to improve protection for women against pregnancy and maternity discrimination, and offer better flexible working and childcare support for working mothers.
If you’re a mother, or a father, or just someone who doesn’t think that women deserve to lose their jobs because they got knocked up, you care about this stuff, yeah?
You do. I know you do.
So…why weren’t there more of us marching?
Yes, the weather in Glasgow on march day was appalling. I mean, really shit. You could argue that the rain put people off, but this is Glasgow. Our weather is almost always shit. My fellow marchers were passionate and vocal, which was great – but man, there should have been more of us. Hundreds. Thousands. I would have loved to have seen all of the city’s mothers out there, stomping around in the pishing rain and demanding change.
Remember when Trump got elected and we packed the streets holding signs saying things like “Yer maw was an immigrant you absolute roaster” and “Ban yersel ya prick”? Well, let’s get as angry about maternity discrimination as we got about Trump. Angrier, even. We don’t have a racist muppet to direct our anger at, which makes it a bit less fun, but we shouldn’t let that stop us.
After all, more of us will be directly affected by maternity discrimination than Trump. 54,000 women a year are pushed out of their job for getting pregnant and 77% of working mums endure negative or discriminatory treatment in the workplace. Around 29% of UK mothers drop out of the workforce after having children due to crippling childcare costs.
If you haven’t personally been discriminated against because you pushed a baby out of your hoo-ha, you definitely know someone who has. I know I do.
I marched for my friends who had to give up their jobs because they couldn’t afford childcare. For my friends who have had their flexible working requests rejected for no reason. For my friend who got made redundant while on maternity leave.
I marched because I could. My employer doesn’t mind if I take a little protest break on a Tuesday afternoon, because there’s no reason why I have to do my job in an office between the hours of 9-5.
I’m one of the lucky ones.