#Powertothebump - pregnancy and maternity rights for young women

Here at Engender we frequently get calls, tweets and emails from women facing discrimination due to pregnancy and maternity. Many folk think that the campaign for pregnancy and maternity was a fight won long ago, but in fact women still face major problems staying, or re-entering the workforce if they become pregnant. The fact that discrimination is illegal is, unfortunately, not enough to prevent some employers from taking advantage, so it’s really important that women are supported to know, and fight for, their rights.

That’s why we’re really pleased to see the EHRC’s new #PowertotheBump Campaign. Read on to find out more, from Helen Miller Policy Manager at the EHRC :

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have launched a campaign this week to help young women understand their rights during pregnancy and encourage them to talk confidently to their employer.


Pregnancy is often packed full of excitement and expectation; but for young women under 25 we found that their experience can be marred by workplace discrimination. Our research found that young women were more likely to leave their jobs as a result of risks not being resolved. Young women also told us they were discouraged from attending antenatal appointments or verbally harassed because of their pregnancy.

This sort of treatment is illegal, and its impact is far reaching; it causes undue stress and puts women’s health and financial security at risk, businesses lose out on skilled, productive workers and women’s inequality in the labour market is reinforced.

Our research has shown that young women don’t always understand what their employment rights are. We want to see an end to pregnancy discrimination and we want young women to feel empowered to look after themselves and their unborn baby while they are working.

The #powertothebump campaign will support young women by using social media to raise awareness of their rights during pregnancy. It will give young women tips to articulate their rights, for example, having conversations with employers to resolve problems early. The campaign features vloggers from parenting YouTube community Channel Mum and a host of downloadable resources to help promote a wide ranging conversation about pregnancy and maternity rights.

Join the conversation, share your stories and views and tweet #powertothebump

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