It said 51% of women felt their employer’s and colleagues’ attitude towards them changed when they became pregnant, with two thirds saying things have been ‘difficult’ for them since they returned from maternity leave.
Common complaints were being overlooked for promotion and watching more junior employees progress more quickly up the career ladder. Nearly half of working mums felt their career progression had halted and a third went as far as to describe moving up the career ladder as a mum ‘impossible’.
Many of the 2,000 women questioned also reported feeling ‘left out’. The most common problems they reported were other worker’s frustration at their part time hours, not being included socially or in business-related matters and a general perception that their role is just a job now rather than a career.
One in four said they have been made to feel they’re no longer required in their current workplace and have even had pressure on them to leave their position or reduce their role.
Kiran Daurka, lawyer at Slater & Gordon, said: “Despite the equality legislation in place, attitudes and working practices continue to block women in achieving their career aspirations in the UK. This report shows that there are still negative perceptions of women with children and this kind of attitude is short-sighted and bad for business.”
One quarter of mums felt under pressure to return to work earlier than they wanted to. Three in ten felt their bosses saw being a mum as inconvenient, and the same number thought it had played a major part in them missing out on a promotion.
The research found that 42% felt those younger and without children were prioritised in the workplace over themselves.
However, a third of mums feel they actually work harder now than they did before their pregnancy. Just 7% admitted they struggled to perform as well at work as a consequence of becoming a mum.
Kiran Daurka added: “Pregnancy and maternity discrimination are not women’s issues – these are societal and economic issues. It is in everyone’s interest to ensure that working mothers are allowed to work to their full potential. The workplace is changing and it is more important than ever that we take advantage of a work force that are often happy to do early starts and late finishes and even weekends if it means it works around them having children. Flexibility really can be win-win for everyone.
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