Young mothers are far more likely to experience pregnancy and maternity discrimination at work. Shockingly, six times as many under-25s report being dismissed from their jobs after telling their employer that they are pregnant, compared to mothers of all ages, according to new research. In a bid to empower women, the Equality and Human Rights Commission is launching #powertothebump, a digital campaign to help young expectant and new mothers understand their rights at work – and have the confidence to stand up for them.

The Commission developed the project with partners including The Young Women’s Trust, Fawcett Society, Maternity Action, The Royal College of Midwives and the TUC. Its landmark research, recently published in partnership with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, reveals that young mothers are more likely than other mothers of all ages to have negative experiences.


Young working mothers are feeling the brunt of discrimination, being forced out of their jobs, facing harassment and experiencing issues with their health as a result

Caroline Waters, Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: “Young working mothers are feeling the brunt of pregnancy and maternity discrimination with more than any other age group being forced out of their jobs, facing harassment and experiencing issues with their health as a result. Often these women aren’t established in their careers, with junior or unstable roles, low paid and reliant on their wage to support themselves and their babies.

“We want young women to use #powertothebump to speak up against this unfairness. They need the knowledge and confidence to raise issues with their employers so they can focus on their health and wellbeing, rather than the negative impacts of this discrimination. We cannot continue to allow these young women to be unfairly held back in the starting blocks of their working lives when they could have the potential to achieve greatness.”

To get involved, and for more information, visit:

Top tips for working mums:

  • Talk to your boss
    It is good to have early conversations with your line manager.
  • Attend your antenatal appointments
    You are entitled to take reasonable paid time off during working hours for antenatal care. You should be given the time to travel to the appointment or class.
  • Plan your maternity leave
    The most important thing is to keep talking with work, tell them your wishes and get it all agreed in writing so you feel in control. You need to tell work your maternity leave plans around the 6-month mark – that’s 15 weeks before the baby is due.
  • Talk about health and safety risks
    Always talk to work about any risks that are worrying you. Your employer has a duty to look after the health and safety of everyone at work. You can ask to see a copy of the general risk assessment to make sure you’re comfortable and safe and that any risks are resolved.
  • Reduce your stress
    Don’t cause yourself additional stress. You shouldn’t experience a negative impact on your health and stress levels, be given an unsuitable workload or be treated unfavourably and feel less valued.

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