UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL MONDAY 24TH APRIL 00.01AM
ONE IN FOUR WOMEN UNDERGOING FERTILITY TREATMENT EXPERIENCE UNFAIR TREATMENT AT WORK
- New report from Pregnant Then Screwed reveals shocking discrimination in the workplace due to women’s reproductive health
- 22% of women who told their employee about pregnancy loss faced unfair treatment in the workplace as a result
- 6% of partners faced unfair treatment following pregnancy loss
DATE: 24th April 2023; A new report from Pregnant Then Screwed in partnership with Women In Data®, has today revealed that one in four women are unfairly treated at work after telling their boss that they are undergoing fertility treatment.
This new research, launching in Infertility Awareness Week, lifts the lid on the shocking discrimination that women experience in the workplace due to reproductive health issues.
Almost one-third of women, who have experienced pregnancy loss as a couple (29%) told their employer when they experienced pregnancy loss, and one in five (22%) of these women reported unfair treatment following their heartbreaking revelation. In contrast, just 6% of partners who told their boss about their loss faced any negative treatment.
As the new report shows, being transparent about fertility can be costly to women’s careers. Almost half (42%) of women going through fertility treatment told their boss. Of those, one in four (24%) didn’t receive any support from their employer, and 24% said they experienced unfair treatment as a result.
Earlier this month, a report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that one in six people around the world experience infertility.
Serena* told us about the impact that her fertility journey had on her at work, “When I was going through fertility treatment there was huge discrimination against me. And since I left, they have put an amendment in their contracts saying they will not allow time off – paid or unpaid – for any fertility treatment. I have been told repeatedly that any side effects from fertility treatment are self-inflicted and I was selfish for having special measures in place as it put more pressure on the rest of the team, just so I could have a baby.”
Joeli Brearley from Pregnant Then Screwed comments, “We are seeing an increasing number of calls to our helpline from women who experience discrimination in the workplace as a result of reproductive health issues. Going through the unknowns of fertility treatment, or the utter heartbreak of baby loss, can be excruciating for many women. That pain and emotional trauma is compounded by hostile employers who discriminate against women for wanting a baby. Women are incredibly vulnerable at this time, and they need support from their employer, rather than prejudice. And employers should be very aware that this type of behaviour is unlawful and could land them in court if they are not careful.’’
Pregnant Then Screwed is launching a new programme to help employers become better at dealing with reproductive health issues in the workplace. In June they will be hosting a free Women in the Workplace seminar, where businesses can find out more about the new training and accreditation scheme, designed to signal fertility friendly employers.
Joeli Brearley, CEO and Founder of Pregnant Then Screwed comments, “Earlier this year we launched our mental health support line and it blew up – we have had to dial up the support that we can offer to meet demand. Mothers are struggling. This discriminatory behaviour doesn’t just impact women’s career prospects, the lasting impact on their mental health can be devastating, and costly to both businesses and to staff wellbeing. It’s in the best interests of both employers and employees to get this right. Starting from now. That is why we have launched a new programme of free training for employers – because this really matters.”
To sign up to the FREE women in the workplace seminar head here.
Notes to editor:
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About the research:
Data analysis was powered by Women in Data® with a team led by Taisiya Merkulova.
A sample of 3540 was randomly selected from a pool of 24,193 respondents to the survey.
The sample is targeting national representation and is nationally representative on gender, region and social grade.
29% of those who have experienced pregnancy loss as a couple and in full employment
23% who told their employer found that their employer was not supportive
22% experienced unfair treatment as a result of pregnancy loss
6% of partners faced unfair treatment as a result of pregnancy loss
43% of women going through fertility treatment have told their employer
24% of these women didn’t get any support from their employer, and 24% said they experienced unfair treatment as a result of undergoing fertility treatment.