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Let’s talk about sex (equality)

Tracey Dickson – Marketing Consultant

It’s been 100 years since women were given the right to vote in the UK, and we’ve seen a lot of stories in the press recently about this triumph and the ongoing campaign for equality for women – both in wider society and in the workplace.

Today something else in the news caught my eye – a survey carried out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to understand the attitudes of British employers towards pregnant women and mothers in work. The research revealed that 41% of employers thought that pregnancy puts an unnecessary cost burden on a business, and around a third of employers held the opinion that women in the workplace that become pregnant, or who are new mothers are ‘generally less interested in career progression’1.

While reading the results of this research, my first thought was ‘Excuse me!?’ but my second was: why did a survey which was focused on understanding and eliminating discrimination only focus on mothers in work and not fathers too? After all, I’ve heard that men are also involved in making babies, and legislation means that new parents are now entitled to share leave after their child is born.

Perhaps it comes down to the fact that pregnancy and caring for a young child is still seen by many people as something that should just affect a woman. However, such attitudes could have a detrimental effect on men. Sadly, working in our industry, we’re aware that not all pregnancies end happily, and not all babies are born well. And if something goes wrong, family and friends might tend to focus on the needs of the mother and overlook the needs of the father. In fact, according to the Miscarriage Association, the person most often forgotten in a family bereaved by a miscarriage is the father2.

Talking to a father about the devastating loss of a baby, or how they’re coping with caring for a sick child is just as important. But it can be difficult for men to seek out the support they need, especially if old-fashioned attitudes make them feel that they need to be stronger, or that they don’t have the right to be as devastated as their partner just because they’re not the ones who’ve been pregnant or given birth.

Our Helping Hand service can support both parents. From caring for a sick child to supporting them through bereavement, they’ll both have access to their own dedicated nurse who’ll provide specialist support and counselling for as long as it’s needed.

Find out more about the type of support Helping Hand can offer to your clients. Helping Hand is a package of support services, provided by third parties that aren’t regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. These services aren’t part of our terms and conditions, so can be amended or withdrawn at any time.

Source: 1. equalityhumanrights.com, February 2018. 2. mhfi.org/menandmiscarriage, February 2018.

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