Pregnancy and motherhood should be a joyful time. Yet a major issue for many women and their partners is the short-term and long-term impact of pregnancy and the birth of a child on work. Our Safe Motherhood Report last year found that over one-third of women surveyed across Europe felt their pregnancy had hampered their advancement in their workplace, and 14 per cent felt actively discriminated against.
It was also seen that many women returned to work quite soon after giving birth, with more than 50 per cent returning to part-time or full-time work within three months of giving birth.
The UK introduced shared parental leave in 2015, but there has been poor uptake of the scheme. According to a recent survey, men who took more than two weeks’ paternity leave were subject to ridicule and worried about damaging their careers. Meanwhile the gender gap, with women earning on average 14% less than men, means it is more difficult to share care.
These fathers discuss how taking parental leave was the right decision for them and their families.