Nic Dakin has joined forces with some of the country’s biggest businesses in the fight against pregnancy and maternity discrimination that affects around 390,000 pregnant women and new mothers each year, by forming a new alliance to show employers how to attract, develop and retain women at work.
Major household names including Barclays, Royal Mail and BT Group are leading a coalition of businesses in the initiative ‘Working Forward – supporting pregnancy and maternity rights’, aiming to inspire other organisations to follow their example by working to eradicate discrimination from their businesses and make the best use of their female workforce.
The high-profile founding members will encourage businesses in their supply chains to sign up to the coalition and pledge to make their workplaces the best they can be for pregnant women and new mothers. The founders will share their knowledge, experience and good practice with businesses who sign up, as well as highlighting the economic benefits they get from retaining the talent and experience of their female employees.
The campaign also has the backing of influential business bodies such as the CBI, Institute of Directors (IOD), the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
With over 15 million women active in the UK labour market at any time, women make up half of the UK workforce. However, research shows more than two million women who are not working want to work and over one and half million women in work would like to do more hours. According to the Government’s own statistics, women's participation in the labour market increased to roughly the same as men’s, it would add 10% to the size of the economy by 2030.
’Working Forward’, set up by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, follows its recent landmark research, carried out in conjunction with the former Department from Business, Innovation and Skills which highlighted that while the majority of employers say they are firm supporters of female staff during and after pregnancy and find it easy to comply with the law, three in four (77%) mothers say they have had a negative or possibly discriminatory experience at work.
David Isaac, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said;
“I am delighted that Nic has pledged his support to encourage businesses in the Scunthorpe constituency to sign up to this initiative to commit to delivering equality and ensure working environments benefit everyone. We can no longer accept women being unfairly treated at work because they are pregnant or on maternity leave.
“Attracting, developing and retaining talent, regardless of gender, is absolutely critical for the UK economy and for our businesses. Companies that show a real commitment to this are not only doing the right thing but can also gain a competitive edge.
The founding members are all recognised for leading the way in attracting, developing and retaining women in their workforces by adopting positive practice and progressive maternity policies.