News

Our 2021 Impact

 

We are a charity lead by women with lived experience of pregnancy and maternity discrimination. We know that the work we are doing has a positive impact on women and their families because so many women tell us that we were there for them when they felt their world was falling apart.

Our 2021 Impact

Top stats

  • We have provided tailored support to 81,813 women 

  • Our social media posts were engaged with over a million times in 2021

  • 416 mentions of our work in national and international media

  • We supported 4255 women through our free advice line 97% said our advice line improved their confidence, 95% said it improved their wellbeing and 96% said it improved their knowledge 

  • Every 11 days an MP or Minister raised our work in Parliament 

  • We increased our helpline and mentor volunteers by 74% (from 63 to 108)

  • We helped women secure £628,000 through legal action against an employer following an experience of pregnancy or maternity discrimination

  • We took legal action against the Government for indirect sex discrimination, and in the Court of Appeal, we proved that the Government discriminated against new mums in the calculation method for the self employed income support scheme 

  • We were responsible for over 15,000 women emailing their MP to ask for an independent review of the childcare sector, and our campaign triggered a Westminster Hall debate on the issue

  • We surveyed 41,001 pregnant women and mothers about their experiences during the pandemic

  • We successfully campaigned for a parent isolation grant so that those on low wages have access to £500 should they be unable to work due to their child isolating.

Support services: 

  • We supported 81,813 women through our free advice line, our mentor scheme, events, online clinics and our helpline for pregnant women who have questions about the vaccine 

  • We supported 4255 women through our free advice line (3 times more than we supported in 2020) 97% said our advice line improved their confidence, 95% said it improved their wellbeing and 96% said it improved their knowledge 

  • We supported 51 women to take legal action against their employer through our mentor scheme

  • We helped women secure (at least) £628,000 through legal action against an employer following an experience of pregnancy or maternity discrimination

  • We increased the number of volunteers for PTS from 63 to 108 

  • 261,000 people accessed our Covid advice hub on the Pregnant Then Screwed website 

  • Our template letter for pregnant women to send to their employer outlining their legal rights at work should they be concerned about contracting Covid19 was downloaded 15,882 times

  • We supported some really high profile cases including: Naomi Hefford who was sacked from a GP surgery after announcing her high risk pregnancy and won £300k, Chloe Daly who took British Airways to tribunal for refusing her flexible working request and secured £40k, Alice Thompson who won her tribunal after she was sacked when she requested to leave work at 5pm to pick up her child, she secured £185k; and Katie Lidster a scientist working at UKRI who was demoted whilst on maternity leave and won £23k at tribunal   

Pregnant women and the vaccine:  

  • 47,066 people attended our online clinics with experts in immunology to get answers to their questions about the vaccine in pregnancy. 81% of attendees said our clinics gave them enough information to make an informed choice about the vaccine 

  • Our Whatsapp service with Full Fact which offers pregnant women unbiased factual information in response to questions they have about the vaccine was used by 1106 women 

  • Our videos, developed in collaboration with Full Fact, designed to mitigate misinformation about pregnancy and the Covid vaccine were viewed 103,375 times

Supporting women to rebuild their confidence and find work that works for them:

  • Our Reset festival (in partnership with CIPD), designed to help women rebuild their confidence and find work that works for them was attended by 1618 women 

  • We helped 163 women secure a specialist work mentor to help them find new employment or to get them back on their feet after maternity leave. 

Advocacy, PR and research: 

  • We have 204,000 followers on social media 

  • We delivered workshops, training or talks to 573 employers about the motherhood penalty and how to make their workplace the best it can be for working parents 

  • We were mentioned 416 times in national and international media, including 28 appearances on TV and radio. This included:  front page and headline news in the Guardian and front page of the G2, BBC Breakfast, The Today programme, ITV News, LBC, and Woman’s Hour

  • We surveyed 41,001 pregnant women and mothers about their experiences during the pandemic offering a unique insight into access to the vaccine, experience of pregnancy and birth under hospital restrictions, how childcare is impacting on the careers of mothers and family finances, and how NDAs are affecting the mental health of those who sign them 

  • The CEO was named in Vogue’s 25 most influential women 

  • The CEO won the Sheila Mckenzie foundation award – Campaigner of the Year 

Campaign achievements in short 

  • Pregnant Then Screwed was mentioned in Parliament 34 times 

  • We participated in 3 Government consultations, gave oral evidence to 3 APPGs and we gave oral evidence to the petitions select committee.

  • We worked with Grazia on a petition to request an independent review of the childcare sector, signed by 112k people, this triggered a Westminster Hall debate on childcare attended by 12 MPs 

  • We proved, in the Court of Appeal, that the Government discriminated against new mums in the calculation method for the self employed income support scheme (SEISS)  

  • In collaboration with: ‘Breastfeeding For Doctors’, we ensured breastfeeding women had informed choice when it came to accessing the vaccine, rather than being told they were unable to access it. 

  • We influenced JCVI to adapt the vaccine booking system to ensure that pregnant women could select which vaccine they wanted 

  • We influenced JCVI to place pregnant women in the priority group for the Covid vaccine. This was finally achieved in December 2021 after 7 months of campaigning 

  • We worked with Birth Rights on defining women’s legal right for a partner to join a scan remotely and to promote the judgement

  • We worked with Birth Rights on a campaign to ensure women do not have to wear a mask whilst giving birth after our research found that one in five had been forced to wear a face covering during labour 

  • We launched the ‘’This Mum Votes’’ project, which aims to get more mums into elected office, alongside Stella Creasy MP, and over 3000 mums signed up to support its development 

  • We worked with John Penrose MP on our childcare campaign. John Penrose secured a meeting with Boris Johnson about this issue 

  • We were responsible for over 15,000 women emailing their MP to ask that they support our campaign for an independent review of the childcare sector 

  • We worked with the TUC, Fatherhood Institute, Young Women’s Trust and Gingerbread as part of our Flex For All coalition to continue campaigning for all jobs to be advertised as flexible. Our work ensured 7,933 people responded to the Government’s consultation to encourage the Government to change the law on flexible working 

  • We worked with Tulip Siddiq MP on a 10 minute rule bill for all jobs to be advertised as flexible by default 

  • Pressure we put on NHS Trusts, alongside the But Not Maternity coalition, to ensure partners could attend scans and early labour meant that by May 2021 all Trusts in England had reversed their policy and would now allow partners to attend  

  • Alongside charity Gingerbread and Working Families, we successfully campaigned for a parent isolation grant so that those on low wages have access to £500 should they be unable to work due to their child isolating.

  • We successfully campaigned for the NHS to remove sexist advice on its website which says that women should get ‘help’ with the household chores from their partner and that because partners might feel left out during pregnancy, pregnant women should consider cooking them a lovely dinner! 

  • We were invited to a meeting with Minister, Paul Scully to discuss the challenges pregnant women and new mums are experiencing 

  • We were invited to join the Government’s pregnancy and maternity discrimination working group and we attended the first meeting 

  • Our campaign to extend the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from 3 months to 6 months (also known as ‘Give Me Six’) made huge headway as the Government acknowledged that it wasn’t long enough. Following a consultation on sexual harassment, Minister LIz Truss committed to looking at an extension.

 

Campaign achievements 

SEISS 

We took the Government to court for indirect sex discrimiantion due to the way the self employed income support scheme was calculated. The SEISS scheme was designed so that eligible people would receive 80% of their average earnings over the previous 3 tax years. Therefore, If you had taken a period of maternity leave in the preceding 3 years, your SEISS payment would be reduced. The Crown Court rejected our claim and we appealed. In the Court of Appeal it was ruled that this was sex discrimination. Therefore, if future schemes are developed by the Government they must consider periods of maternity leave and ensure women are not penalised for taking time out to care for a baby. This ruling may have other applications, such as for self-employed mothers who have a mortgage application rejected due to a dip in income caused by a period of maternity leave. 

 

Childcare

Our childcare campaign took a big leap forward as over 100k of you signed our petition for an independent review of the childcare sector, triggering a Westminster Hall debate on the issue with cross-party support.  We asked our community to email their MP requesting they support our campaign for an independent review. This resulted in over 15,000 emails to MPs on the issue of childcare. A survey we ran with other organisations was completed by over 20,000 parents securing front page and headline news in the Guardian. The headline stated: ‘Parents demand radical change to make childcare more affordable.’’ Damn right we do, and with childcare firmly back on the Government agenda, we saw more money ploughed into the sector than expected in the last budget. But this campaign ‘ain’t over yet and we are planning to create more trouble in 2022. We are currently exploring a partnership with John Penrose MP and the Social Mobility Foundation to highlight the issues with childcare across Westminster. 

 

Flexible working

Meanwhile, the Government dragged their feet on flexible working legislation by responding to their initial inquiry with a consultation as to whether the ‘’right to request’’ should be a day 1 right. This simple tweak to legislation will not solve the current challenges we are seeing in the labour market and so we worked with our ‘’Flex For All’’ coalition on a coordinated response, which included: a landmark survey of 10,000 people to better understand whether employees felt the changes would go far enough (spoiler alert: They didn’t); a template response to the consultation which picked out key data to demonstrate why the proposed changes would be ineffective; we collected and documented case studies from employers who advertised all jobs as flexible from the outset and had seen great success with this method. Finally, we supported Tulip Siddiq MP to bring another 10 minute rule bill on the issue. Working with the TUC we persuaded almost 8,000 people to respond to the Government consultation demanding better from the Government, and showing why it makes sense to make all jobs flexible by default. 

 

Hospital restrictions

In May we surveyed over 7,000 new mums and discovered that one in five had been forced to wear a face covering during labour. Through our advocacy, new guidance was issued to prevent this from happening again with coverage of the issue across the BBC including BBC Breakfast. 

We also worked closely with Birth Rights on a survey to assess whether birth partners were enabled to join a scan remotely if restrictions prevented them from attending in-person. Our survey found that 52% of those who attended scans alone were also told their partner could not join remotely. Birthrights secured a legal ruling on the rights of the birth partner under these circumstances. The ruling found that it was likely to be unlawful to prevent a birth partner from joining a scan remotely. We worked with Birth Rights to communicate this ruling to women and to hospital trusts across the country. 

As part of the But Not Maternity coalition we ran a campaign to encourage the NHS to relax restrictions on prenatal, labour and postnatal units. Our work resulted in guidance being published by NHS England recommending a birth partner be allowed to attend all scans and the duration of labour. By May 2021 all Trusts in England had reversed their policy and would now allow partners to attend. 

 

Vaccine in pregnancy

Ensuring pregnant and breastfeeding women have the information they need to decide whether to take the vaccine, and priority access to the vaccine, was a key part of our work in 2021.

Initially, breastfeeding women were informed they couldn’t access the vaccine as it had not been tested on lactating women. We worked in collaboration with the Hospital Infant Feeding Network, GP Infant Feeding Network, Breastfeeding Doctors, and the Women’s Equality Party to campaign for informed choice amongst this group of women. To prevent breastfeeding women from taking the vaccine would force them to choose between breastfeeding or protecting themselves and their unborn child. The campaign was successful and the MRHA and JCVI agreed to follow the CDC in America and give breastfeeding women the option of having the vaccine. You can read more about that campaign here and here.

As the vaccine had also not been tested on pregnant women they too were unable to access this life-saving drug, until 16th April 2021 when enough real-world data had been collected to show that it was safe. But pregnant women could only have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as the real world data utilized only these vaccines. The NHS booking system hadn’t been updated so that pregnant women could select the type of vaccine they were eligible for, and this led to huge amounts of confusion with pregnant women turning up at vaccine centres, only to be sent away. We worked closely with Stella Creasy MP on a successful campaign to update the NHS booking system so that it reflected the needs of pregnant women. This was finally implemented on the 7th May 2021.

Following this, we work closely with Stella Creasy MP on a campaign to prioritise pregnant women for the vaccine. The issue was raised repeatedly by PTS and Stella Creasy MP with Ministers and the JCVI, including 3 oral questions in Parliament and 4 official letters to Ministers. We collected data and research on the barriers to vaccination for pregnant women and shared this with senior officials at the department for health and social care (DHSC), and leaders at the NHS vaccination department. We launched a petition demanding pregnant women be prioritised as they are the only vulnerable adult group who have not been. This is finally successful in December 2021 when pregnant women are placed in priority group 6. 

Alongside this work we are acutely aware that pregnant women do not feel they have enough information about how the vaccine works to feel confident taking it whilst pregnant. Our research also told us that 47% of pregnant women had been put off from taking the vaccine by a health professional. We run two webinars with immunology experts to answer questions, one on 19th April 2021 and one on 22nd July 2021. In total these webinars are attended by: 47,066 people. 81% of attendees said our webinar gave them enough information to make an informed choice about the vaccine. 

Additionally we worked with charity, Full Fact, to dispel misinformation about the vaccine. Our Whatsapp service which offers pregnant women unbiased factual information in response to questions they have about the vaccine was used by 1,106 women. 

Our videos, developed in collaboration with Full Fact, designed to mitigate misinformation about pregnancy and the Covid vaccine were viewed 103,375 times.

 

Protection of pregnant women at work 

We held a vigil for Mary Agyaypong, the 28-year old pregnant nurse who tragically lost her life to Covid, attended by 6 pregnant women, her husband, Ernest, and a number of journalists who documented the vigil and called on the Government to do more to protect pregnant women. We wrote two letters to Health Minister, Sajid Javid (here and here) asking for the guidance for pregnant women who are working outside of the home during the pandemic, to be clarified, and asking that further measures be put in place to protect pregnant women from Covid. We worked with Ernest Boatang (husband of Mary Agyapong) on a petition and campaign to suspend pregnant women from work automatically when they reach the third trimester. The petition was presented to Parliament by Sarah Owen MP and was signed by over 100k people. 

 

The Parent Isolation Grant 

Alongside charity Gingerbread and Working Families, we successfully campaigned for a parent isolation grant so that those on low wages have access to £500 should they be unable to work due to their child isolating. Prior to this parents were missing out on 2 weeks of income from their employer should they be required to isolate. Our campaign included a petition, collecting data on the number of families affected and the financial impact, and co-writing a letter to Ministers about the issue. 

 

We would like to thank:

Birth Rights, Gingerbread, Fawcett Society, Working Families, TUC, Mother Pukka, Fatherhood Institute, Young Women’s Trust, AIMS, Grazia, Make Birth Better, The Birth Trauma Association, Doula UK, Lexy Topping, the Hospital Infant Feeding Network, GP Infant Feeding Network, Breastfeeding Doctors, BPAS, The Queer Birth Club, MumsNet, The Women’s Budget Group, Stella Creasy MP, Maria Miller MP, Breakthrough, Platypus Digital, Sophie Walker, Zelda Perkins, Five X More, Black Mums Upfront, Primas Law, Doughty Street Chambers, CIPD, Leigh Day Solicitors, Equity, Musicians Union, Federation of Entertainment Unions, Writers Guild, Go Fund Me, Grazia, Valla, Full Fact, The Muslim Women’s Network, Maternity Action, Kevin Brennan MP, Alison Thewliss MP, Hannah Bardell MP, Maria Miller MP, Nadine Dorries MP, Alex DJ MP, Kirsten Oswald MP, Catherine Mckinnell MP, Sarah Olney MP, Laura Ferris MP, Munira WilsonMP, Sarah Owen MP, Siobhan Baillie MP, John Penrose MP, Tulip Sidiq MP, Alicia Kearns MP and all the other charities, campaign groups and people who have collaborated with us or supported us to make change happen in 2021. Thank you.

Thank you to all our brilliant volunteers who worked their socks off in 2021 on our advice line, mentor scheme and supporting our campaigning work. We couldn’t do this work without you. And thank you to our incredible trustees who always go above and beyond. 

We would also like to sincerely thank our funders without whom we wouldn’t exist, including: The National Lottery Community Fund, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Smallwood Trust, Rosa, The Solace Women’s Fund, Postcode Lottery, John Ellerman, Comic Relief and the Enterprise Development Fund. 

Quotes from MPs

“As a small operation, they have had a mighty impact on our understanding of just how much women who are pregnant and new mothers are suffering during this pandemic. The work they have done to uncover the inequalities and the impact of legislation, or lack of impact, has been absolutely staggering.” 

– Stella Creasy, Feb 2021, Maternity Allowances Bill debate

Quotes from pregnant women about our vaccine work 

‘’I just want to say a huge thank you. I had declined the vaccine despite being classed as vulnerable, because I didn’t have enough info. Now I do and I’m booked in this Sunday. Also thank you for sending the video – I couldn’t make it in person and was so happy to watch the recording. This was a really necessary and generous event.’’

‘’Thank you so much for doing this event and for helping us feel less alone in this decision!’’

‘’As a pregnant nicu nurse & health visitor I had already decided to have the vaccine (and had had my 1st dose of Astrazeneca) based on the limited evidence of both covid and the vaccine that I could find. BUT I was highly aware of the gaps in my knowledge so it was excellent to have the opportunity to fill these in as much as possible. As a health visitor mothers are now asking me for advice about the vaccine and this event made me feel more confident about supporting pregnant, breastfeeding and ttc mums to identify the relevant points to consider whilst waiting for their GP consultation. My partner (father of my unborn baby, nurse, lecturer and covid vaccinator) joined me for the talk, as did my daughter (sister of unborn baby & due to start her studies as a UCL population health student). They were both very impressed.’’

‘’The event was so informative. I’ve been trying to do my own research about getting the vaccine whilst pregnant and had previously asked for advice from my GP, midwife and consultant. They all pointed me in the direction of the same website which didn’t answer my questions. The experts at the event answered everything I’ve been trying to find out and I really feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’ve been able to make a decision about whether to get the vaccine. Thank you!’’ 

Quotes from users of our support services: 

“This call did more for me than weeks and months of research and stressing did! Thank you so much for the advice about how to frame the discussion and practically what to say/not say when I’m having the initial chat with my boss. I’m feeling a lot more confident about the conversation and it’s so reassuring to know this advice line is here for me to come back to in the next stages.”

“Thank you for being there.”

“Very bitter sweet, it’s an amazing service that’s available, particularly at a time when you feel most vulnerable, but it’s such a shame that it even has to be a service we need. Thank you for your help, it’s invaluable.”

“I was so impressed with the service. Its the first time I have used it and it was so helpful. I will be singing the organisations praise to all my parent friends.”

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