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Raw Deal for Mothers

More than one in four mothers feel they have been discriminated against at work while pregnant or after returning to their job, according to research by the legal firm Slater and Gordon.

A third of 1,975 women questioned said they found it impossible to climb the career ladder and 54% said their employer could do more to support working mums.

Research by the law firm has suggested that many women feel discriminated against by employers when they start a family.

Although employers said businesses were better than ever at managing maternity leave and reintegrating, half of those polled by law firm Slater & Gordon said they felt left out or not taken seriously at work after having a child. The survey also stated that while two out of five believed younger colleagues with no children were given more support and encouragement, 35% thought they worked harder since having children.

A total of 35% of the mothers questioned across the UK by One Poll in July said their workplace was not supportive of their situation when they were pregnant and 31% felt they were not well treated by their employer while on maternity leave.

Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of the parenting website Netmums, said: "There is certainly a major problem with talented and experienced mums not being able to find jobs with family friendly hours, but the smartest companies are beginning to address this with ideas like flexible working, remote working and job shares.

"These companies know it's cheaper and more efficient to pay maternity leave and get back a committed employee who knows the business - rather than to make women so uncomfortable they leave and the firm is forced to expensively hire an unknown, untried and untested new member of staff."

Such discrimination creates pregnancy discrimination and causes terrible suffering for women and their families. In today’s modern world it is a disgrace that some businesses remain committed to archaic Victorian values.