everywomanChangemakers Podcast: Why are working women still paying a penalty for having children? Meet the woman taking maternity discrimination to task

Diversity and Inclusion
Women are still paying the ‘motherhood penalty’ for wanting to work and have a family, with implications for health, wellbeing, finances and career success. We talk to the woman campaigning to make work…work for mothers.

Two days after she told her employer that she was pregnant with her first child, Joeli Brearley was sacked from her job by voicemail. It was an abrupt end to a successful role, and she soon realised that her experience was not unique. The ‘motherhood penalty’ is one faced by many women through pregnancy and maternity discrimination, yet current legislation does not protect women. Joeli launched Pregnant Then Screwed in 2015, as a space for mothers to share their stories and today the charity is dedicated to ending the systemic, cultural and institutional discrimination faced by thousands of pregnant women and mothers every year. In this episode she discusses the barriers, disincentives and disingenuities of current legislation and how these intersect with societal expectations to create the perfect storm for mothers who work.



Read a full transcript of this podcast here



01:14 - What is the motherhood penalty?

05:12 - Has feminism forgotten motherhood?

08:04 - How do a mother’s ‘choices’ impact motherhood?

10:24 - What choices should be available for women?

11:58 - How do we view motherhood in the UK?

15:41 - Legislation hasn’t really led on this so how can we start unpicking it?

18:19 - How has the pandemic affected women’s equality? 

25:12 - What should women planning to have children think about?

28:33 - Is there anything women with children do that undermines their drive for equality?

29:46 - What is the change you would like to see?