Pregnant Then Screwed Halloween themed protest joined by celebrities, MPs chants for immediate reform of childcare, parental leave and flexible working
Date: 29th October, 2022; Today, over 15,000 mothers and families took to the streets across 11 cities in the UK to shout, chant and march for immediate reforms of childcare, parental leave and flexible working.
Celebrities including; Presenters Kate Quilton and Ashley James and actor Bronagh Waugh lead the march in London, along with MP’s Stella Creasy and Munira Wilson. Thousands of protesters dressed in Halloween fancy dress protested in the streets in a bid to force the government to take notice of women at last, and to represent the horrific treatment of mums and families in the UK.
The national protest is demanding reform on three key issues that are pushing mothers out of the workforce and into poverty:
Increased funding for the childcare sector to enable affordable, high quality childcare for all children
Ring-fenced and properly paid maternity and paternity leave
All jobs to be flexible by default
Powerful speeches by Sophie Walker, Bronagh Waugh, Baroness (Shaista) Gohir OBE, Mandu Reid, Kate Quilton, Joeli Brearley and Kelechi Okafor underpinned the demonstration.
Kelechi whipped the crowd into a frenzy with powerful words “women are told not to be angry, to smile and be nice. Is there anything to Smile about?” she continued, “What are we saying to that? No more” which were followed by mass cheers and support from protesters.
Titled the ‘March of the Mummies’ the protest has been trending across Twitter, with those unable to march joining the protest online with the hashtag #MarchofTheMummies.
Speaking about the protest, Joeli Brearley CEO of Pregnant Then Screwed comments, “Thousands of parents took to the streets today to demand their voices be heard by this Government. Parents of young children don’t protest unless they are really furious. They have had enough, They feel they are being set up to fail.’’
It’s impossible for most families to survive without two incomes, yet we have created an environment that prevents mothers from working. We have the second most expensive childcare system in the developed world. We have a parental leave scheme that is impossible to survive on for most families as it pays just 47% of minimum wage meaning babies are born into poverty; while men get just two weeks’ leave and are not encouraged to take any longer. We have little to no access to flexible working that families need to balance paid and unpaid work despite a Conservative manifesto pledge on this.”
Chants to Rishi Sunak in his role as Prime Minister filled the air, with crowds demanding that Rishi invest in mothers. This followed an open letter to the Prime Minister earlier this week, to explain the protest and the urgent need to stop more women and families falling below the breadline.
Joeli Brearley, CEO of Pregnant Then Screwed comments, “It’s Rishi Sunak’s first weekend as Prime Minister. We know that he’s a really ambitious Prime Minister and we want him to set his ambitions high for women too. We know that he faces some really tough calls in terms of the challenges that the UK faces at the moment. And we want to remind him that investing in families is vital now. Otherwise we will see child poverty increase, families out on the streets, and our economy suffer.
Politicians keep talking about growth but we cannot grow unless we unleash the power and potential of women. That is why we want him to: Invest in childcare to create good quality, affordable provision for all children. Invest in parental leave so that families can survive when they have a baby and so that children are not born straight into poverty. And finally, make flexible working the default so that parents can have children and still earn a living.
We have written to the new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to ask for a meeting so that we can tell him the many stories we hear from women and talk with him about what he can do to support them. We will be following this weekend of protest with a series of meetings in which we hope to directly engage the minister for education and the minister for business in practical policy discussion. Pregnant then Screwed is seven years old and we get stronger and more experienced every year. We are in this for the long haul.’’
As the march comes to an end, the protest continues in homes across the UK as families fight for support for families.
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Image Credit: Angela Christofilou
Recent Pregnant Then Screwed data has revealed the harsh reality that mother’s are currently facing: extortionate childcare costs, pitiful financial support for new mothers and fathers, and a lack of good quality part time and flexible work.
Data has shown that:
31% of new parents will not be able to afford to have any more children
48% of pregnant mothers will have to cut their maternity leave short due to financial hardship.
Shockingly, 60.5% of mothers who had an abortion in the last 5 years stated that childcare costs were a factor in their decision to terminate a wanted pregnancy
43% of mothers are considering leaving their job as a direct result of childcare costs.