'Dear Employer': Women urged to pen letter to HR outlining poor practice

'Dear Employer': Women urged to pen letter to HR outlining poor practice

A new campaign is urging women to pen letters to their employers to call out the motherhood penalty and the gender pay and promotion gap.

The campaign, ‘Dear Employer’, is encouraging working parents to send a letter to their CEO or HR department this Friday to voice how they could improve workplace practices for them.

Research by Working Forward, a national campaign established by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, found that pregnancy and maternity discrimination at work affects around 390,000 pregnant women and new mothers each year.

It found that although the majority of employers say they are firm supporters of female staff during and after pregnancy, 77% of mothers say they have had a negative or possibly discriminatory experience at work.

Spearheading the movement is Joeli Brearley, Founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, to support mothers and fathers who “suffer the effects of systemic, cultural, and institutional discrimination.”

Brearley was sacked by voicemail by her employer when she was four months pregnant, and so set up the community interest company to support other women who have been discriminated against – Real Business reports.

“With this campaign, we seek to drive change through employees being able to tell their side of the story, so that attitudes and culture can change for others,” says Brearley. “Even if the truth may at times be ugly, this feedback is critical to making headway in changing perceptions.”

On the company website, a post explains more about the ‘Dear Employer’ movement, stating that the letters can be sent anonymously, and can range from discussing the positive practices an employer has in place to offering advice to companies that went wrong.

It reads: “This isn’t about having a moan or being militant against employers, we know this is not in isolation a solution to the problem. But let’s highlight the problem, let’s start some constructive conversations, let’s share some solutions.” It also offers a letter template, with more information here.

According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, one in nine mothers said they had been let go from their jobs, or treated badly, as a result of pregnancy in 2015. However, organisations that fail to accommodate working mothers are missing out on formidable resource.

Writing for the Chartered Management Institute, Cilla Snowball, Group Chairwoman and Group CEO of AMV BBDO, said: “Returning mums are a formidable resource; organised, decisive, grounded.

“In our own company we have hired and promoted pregnant and returning mums to top jobs and we will continue to do so to hang on to the best talent.” To read more about how employers are championing returnships for mothers, click here.

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Comments (1)

  • Sir
    Wed, 11 Apr 2018 1:14pm BST
    "...'Dear Employer': Women urged to pen letter to HR outlining poor practice..."

    I would like to feel urged to take action too - but obviously my views count for nothing in this matter, as I am male.
    Shouldn't it be "PEOPLE urged to pen letter......."
    Unconscious bias, anyone ?

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