IT was in the 1970s when an Equal Pay Act was introduced in the UK, which outlawed favouring one sex over another in terms of pay and conditions in the workplace.
Forty years on and it appears that female bosses are still earning only three-quarters as much as their male colleagues – meaning they would have to work until they were nearly 80 to catch up with men’s lifetime earnings, according to new figures.
With such workplace sexism obviously still in full swing it should come as no big surprise then to hear that 40 per cent of managers questioned in another recent study admit that they would avoid hiring younger women to try and not have to deal with maternity leave.
More than 40 per cent also admitted that they would be wary of hiring a woman who has already had a child or hiring a mother for a senior role.
While 25 per cent said they would rather hire a man to get around issues of child care when a woman does return to work, with 44 per cent saying the financial costs to their business because of maternity leave are a significant concern.
Employment ministers in the UK have been quick to call pregnancy discrimination illegal and unacceptable. Saying that, “there is no excuse for such attitudes from these employers, who frankly are dinosaurs.”
Where would these sexist managers be without women? Where do they think they came from?
There are indeed challenges to face when a female employee needs to take maternity leave. Cover needs to be organised and when she returns to work she needs to be brought up to speed.
But this isn’t any different to what needs to be done if a man has a bad injury or illness that keeps him from his work for a time.
Numerous successful businesses have a very progressive attitude towards maternity – accommodating mothers. And they are successful because being forward thinking and humane wins over staff and makes them loyal and hard-working.
Want more proof? Check out Germany’s paternity and maternity benefits – and they also have the strongest economy in the world!