Maternity-age women discriminated in the workplace

New figures released found there is no real difference between the attitudes of male and female business leaders when it comes to female discrimination in the workplace*.

A quarter of male business leaders and 21 per cent of female business leaders admit to rejecting female candidates for jobs who ‘appear’ to be of maternity age, even though they are the right person for the role.

The statistics further reveal the shocking extent to which businesses are breaking employment law to discriminate against women. Forty-four per cent of business leaders said they had passed up on female candidates who were not pregnant, but were concerned these women were likely to get pregnant in the future.

The results breakdown as follows: Twenty-three per cent said they rejected women even though they were the right candidate for the job; 21 per cent said they had rejected female candidates because their business couldn’t handle the prospect of women coming in and out of maternity leave; An additional eight per cent admitted to openly asking female candidates if they plan to have any children in the future

Under current employment law in the UK, it is against the law to treat someone less favourably than someone else because of a personal characteristic such as religion, sex, gender reassignment or age. It is also illegal to ask candidates whether they have children or plan to have children.

Twenty-one per cent of male and female business leaders said they had rejected female candidates because their business couldn’t handle the prospect of women coming in and out of maternity leave; 10 per cent of male business leaders said they openly asked female candidates about their plans to have children, compared to five per cent of female business leaders.

Mathias Linnemann, CCO and co-founder of Worksome, said,

This research provides crucial insight into employer perspectives. We are disheartened to see that such outdated and inaccurate opinions are still held by business leaders in the UK. This behaviour is harmful to all women in the workforce: even those who may have no interest in ever having children are facing prejudice and discrimination due to their gender.

Not only are businesses breaking the law, but they are putting themselves at a disadvantage. With the proper support, negotiating maternity leave needn’t be a challenge. Businesses should feel able to hire the best candidate, regardless of who they are, and not worry that they are going to be ‘caught out’ by maternity leave at a later date.


*By Worksome


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Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

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