It has been revealed that one-third of bosses in the UK discriminate against women for fear that they might start a family. In a recent survey conducted by a law firm, many employers admitted to prejudices and admitted favouring men during the hiring process. Many of these believe that having children or being pregnant would affect a woman’s performance at work.
Recent graduates and younger women seem not to face the same level of discrimination; however, women who have recently become engaged or married are, in employers’ eyes, more likely to start a family.
This assumption has led to bosses choosing not to hire them to avoid finding maternity cover or providing flexible working for working parents. Some employers also operate under the belief that having children leads to poorer work performance.
In addition to recently engaged or married women, just as many bosses admitted they would have the same attitude towards women who already had children. This leaves just one demographic – the childless woman – ‘suitable’ for hiring.
A small percentage of employers even admitted to breaking sex discrimination laws during the hiring process. Beyond those who admitted it, it is likely that the number is higher.
Many women have suspected that they have been discriminated against. With the recent reveal of score manipulation at a Tokyo medical school, employment practice is under intense scrutiny and sexist hiring policies are being highlighted more and more.
A large percentage of those surveyed said they believed men were more committed to their jobs, with just as many saying they would advertise jobs only to men if the law allowed it. This has highlighted a worrying level of discrimination in the UK jobs market.
This comes in the wake of other information declaring similar statements. Many high-level bosses in the UK admit they think it is acceptable to ask a female employee about her plans for marriage and children, but they would not extend this scrutiny towards their male candidates.
Despite it being illegal to discriminate against women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or new parents, these beliefs still exist.
While these practices are still being exposed by ongoing surveys, it is clear that work needs to be done so that women don’t feel discriminated against for decisions relating to starting a family. The law is one thing, but changing decades of beliefs is quite another.
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