A lot of people are having a difficult time in the recession – and pregnant women and new mums are getting a particularly hard time of it.
A whole raft of maternity benefits have been axed or restricted. The Health in Pregnancy Grant, Sure Start Maternity Grant, Child Benefit and Tax Credits are all affected, leaving women with less money at a time when they really need it.
We are hearing more reports of employers unfairly – and unlawfully – forcing women out of their jobs. Before the recession, 30 000 women each year lost their jobs because of pregnancy discrimination and the situation is getting worse.
The Government’s plans for changes to maternity and parental leave risk taking us backwards on gender equality. We are seeking to influence these policies to get the best possible outcomes for parents and their babies.
At the same time, frontline NHS maternity services are being cut.
This has to stop. The Valuing Maternity campaign is calling for Government to champion pregnant women and new mothers, not make life more difficult.
The campaign calls for job security for pregnant women and new mothers, maternity and parental leave that promotes real equality, and services to support a safe and healthy pregnancy.
The Valuing Maternity campaign involves more than a dozen unions, women’s organisations, parents’ groups and advice services. This broad-based engagement reflects widespread concern about the situation of pregnant women and new mothers.
Anyone with an interest in fair treatment of new mums are urged to sign up to the campaign.
Valuing Maternity are collecting women’s stories about their treatment at work. Women can use an interactive tool to rate their employer’s compliance with the law. They want to hear what is happening to maternity services locally.
You can also follow Maternity Action on Twitter and spread the word using the hash tag #valuingmaternity.