Baby shame in the workplace: sad but still true

Baby shame in the workplace: sad but still true.

Almost one in five (18%) of women planning to have children have hidden this from their employers, according to research from a leading source.

The survey of more than 1,000 women also found that 58% of non-retired women planning to have children expect to alter their careers to accommodate starting a family.

The main reason cited was the requirement for more flexible working conditions (74%). Other reasons for changing included needing to work fewer hours (58%) and preferring a shorter commute (31%).

Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Families, said this reflects the simple reality that mothers typically can’t dedicate as much time to their careers as a result of childcare responsibilities. “All this adds up to the fact that reward is not enough,” she said. “When you work and have a child something has to give.”

The survey also uncovered mothers experiencing ‘baby shame’ in the workplace. More than a quarter (26%) of working mothers said they feel self-conscious when leaving early or working from home because of childcare arrangements.

“This is not just a problem for mothers,” commented Jackson. “Our surveys have found that young fathers feel the same way; they don’t have the work/life balance they want, and they hide their childcare commitments from their employer.”