Becoming a mother is meant to be a joy. For 54,000 women each year in the UK, it results in their being forced to leave their jobs due to pregnancy and maternity discrimination. That prejudice makes a needless negative impact on women’s careers.
This International Mother’s Day (March 11), the agency aptly called Mother created an art installation for Maternity Action, to highlight the problem.
54,000 single white carnations were fashioned into a public art exhibit, 54K, in Potters Fields Park in London. Each carnation represented one of the 54,000 jobs lost or careers interrupted, the flower chosen as the original symbol of Mother’s Day. And images were taken of the installation by Tim Ireland for PA Wire, to help spread awareness.
Rosalind Bragg, director of Maternity Action, commented, “It is 2018, yet one of the biggest barriers to gender equality in the workplace is the discrimination that mothers face. We want everyone to add their voice, sign our petition and encourage Government to act now to effect lasting change.”
Maternity Action is calling on the UK government to take action to end this unfair treatment of women and mothers. In January 2017, the Government gave a commitment to review redundancy protections. A year later, women are still waiting for action. The #54k artwork will encourage individuals to add their support by signing the petition calling for swift action on unfair redundancies at 54K.org.uk.
Maria Miller MP, chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, added, “The sphere of white flowers brings home the scale of the situation facing pregnant women and new mothers at work. There can be no place for discrimination against mothers or pregnant women in our society. As chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, I urge the Government to take urgent steps to bring this appalling form of discrimination to an end. The Government must deliver on its commitment to the Select committee to review the available legal protection from redundancy for pregnant women and new mothers.”