Mothers were the ‘canary in the mine’ of living cost crisis, Joeli Brealy explained (Picture: Pregnant Then Screwed)
Thousands of new mums are losing their jobs as the cost of living crisis tightens.
Pregnant Then Screwed say new mums were ‘the canary in the mine’ as the country’s economy started to plunge.
Redundancies had hit many as companies pulled back on flexible working arrangements which had been introduced during the pandemic.
Pregnant Then Screwed have fielded an upsurge in calls as more and more struggling parents seek help during the cost of living crisis.
The organisation, founded by Joeli Brealy, fought ‘to stop women dying’ during the pandemic by calling for pregnant women to be allowed better protection from the virus.
Now, their work has shifted once more.
Campaigners have now demanded the government reform the nation’s ‘broken’ childcare system and improve parental leave conditions and flexible working options.
Joeli told Metro.co.uk: ‘After Covid it was really obvious that the costs were just going through the roof for people. With our phone lines for example, we’ve seen a leap in the last month alone.
Demonstrators take part in this year’s March of the Mummies protest in central London (Picture: PA)
Thousands are calling for better childcare provision and fairer rights for new mums (Picture: Getty)
‘Calls went up by 56% and they are concerned on a number of things. People have been calling for advice on benefits for example.
‘There were also was a lot of concern over the high number of redundancies happening which was alarming.
‘These calls came in early during the cost of living crisis. It was like the canary in the mine, warning everybody what was going on first.
‘As soon as things get tough, it’s mothers that get pushed out of their jobs first. They’re the first to go and have been warning us that is the case.
Joeli Brearley, of Pregnant Then Screwed, could never have predicted the huge expansion of the group
‘Companies have started reverting to very traditional ways of working as they’re panicking. They pull the plug on anything that feels a bit different to them, so flexible working and similar requests they may once have been more open to go out the window.’
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), England has the third worst ranking maternity benefit and the worst ranking paternity benefit in Europe.
The nation also has the second most expensive childcare system in the continent.
The government has been urged to look to countries such as Germany and Denmark – where attitudes to maternity leave, childcare costs and paternity leave are far different.
The March of the Mummies march took place across 11 cities (Picture: Amer Ghazzal/Shutterstock)
Protesters demanded Government reform on childcare, parental leave and flexible working hours (Picture: PA)
Joeli calling for more mums to stand up for their rights like they did in ‘March of the Mummies’ protest earlier this year.
Thousands took to the streets up and down the country to demand ‘urgent’ change.
Joeli added: ‘During covid we were incredibly reactive to what was happening – back then was a different world.
‘So more recently we’ve switched back to looking at core issues. We’re seeing a real deterioration in terms of gender equality and child poverty.
Moving forward – fighting against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis will be no easy task (Picture: Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/Shutterstock)
But Pregnant Then Screwed have vowed to continue the battle for new mums across the UK (Picture: Amer Ghazzal/Shutterstock)
‘And people are feeling more helpless now, after Covid and now in the cost of living crisis. There was more anger before, which you could harness, but now there is more apathy.
‘At the March of the Mummies this year, 67% of people had never been to a protest before but they felt powerful that day.
‘We can sit at home and feel deflated about being unable to change things. But when you’re surrounded by hundreds of people who feel the same way – it’s energising and makes you feel hopeful.
‘It is a joyous thing to know we are now the voice of working mothers. People can come to us with all manner of problems and feel supported being part of this community.
‘We’ve got more than 170 volunteers and the majority are woman that have had their own crap experiences.
‘Our key priority now is to get into all the political parties’ manifestos and create radical changes to childcare, flexible working and parental leave.’
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