#ShareBaby demands that UK PLC stops defining how we should parent

Every so often you get to combine your passion project with your day job. And that is exactly what I will be doing today when we launch an exciting new campaign for one of our clients called #ShareBaby.

So let me introduce you to #ShareBaby, an initiative very close to my heart. It’s the brainchild of #SheSays, the award-winning global network focused on the advancement of women in the creative industries. The campaign aims to encourage companies to change their parental leave and pay policy to reflect Government standard.

Did you know that currently only 2% of eligible parents are making use of shared parental leave. Barriers include the financial hit, concerns about career impact and lack of awareness.

Were you also aware that 9 out of 10 men believe that, both the man and woman, should take time out to care for their family

…and whist we’re at it – let me throw some more staggering stats at you too….

77% of women have said they have suffered discrimination during their pregnancy, maternity leave and returning to work.

11% of mothers reported that they were either dismissed, made compulsorily redundant, where others in their workplace were not, or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their job.

Fathers are twice as likely as mothers to have requests for flexible working turned down.

In 2015 the UK Government introduced ’Shared Parental Leave and Pay’, allowing both parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay. However, the majority of UK companies are still only advocating this benefit to mothers and the uptake by fathers has been minimal. The #ShareBaby campaign asks companies to not only commit to offering these benefits to male employees, but asks them to actively encourage fathers to take them up.

In return, SheSays pledges to showcase all companies that commit to this on its campaign website and promote this to their 40,000 members in 40 cities across the world, highlighting them within a list of good places to work for progressive couples. 

Fabiana Xavier, President, SheSays London, explained the rationale behind the campaign:

“Over the years, the majority of our members have expressed their frustration with discrimination and the struggle to balance a successful career and family life. We’ve heard a lot of dissatisfaction from members lamenting the fact that women still end up having more responsibilities than male partners when it comes to looking after children. The implication for our members is often an acceptance that they can’t push on with their own careers. This has to change.”

Certainly, in my opinion, enabling parents to #ShareBaby is a vital step towards achieving equality in the workplace and beyond. I have always believed that raising a child is an equal effort and should be shared. Thankfully my husband agrees too and as such we have a pretty balanced approach to parenting. I also agree with #SheSays when they argue that companies should stop defining how parents parent. We as parents should have the right to make that choice ourselves, and NO one else.

Alison Green, Managing Director of WOMBA Group and a parent herself:

“Since I had my children a couple of decades ago, it’s been great to see the positive changes for working mums. But what about the dads? All parents should have the opportunity to combine working with raising their family in a way that is equitable, doesn’t disadvantage them and allows them to balance their responsibilities at home or at work.”

Xavier concludes:

“Not only will #ShareBaby give parents the choice on how they parent, we hope that it will also begin to reduce discrimination against women of childbearing age, and the belief they have to sacrifice their career for a family. It will also remove the stigma of men taking time off work to care for their children, enabling them to feel more comfortable about wanting to stay at home for longer than two weeks or a full-time stay at home parent. Overall, we hope to be able to highlight that both men and women can continue to thrive in their careers, while also being parents.”

Let’s allow parents to decide how they want to parent. Make your pledge at sharebaby.co.uk

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