My letter to Theresa May on International Women’s Day

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Dear Theresa May,

International Women’s Day is a wonderful occasion for us to celebrate all women and their achievements, especially here in the UK. Women have come a long way in the past 100 years in terms of their rights, and more recently the fight for equality in the gender pay gap. It makes me proud to be a woman looking back and seeing how far we have come.

However, there is still one thing holding us back – especially for us new mums who have a career. That is, the choice we have to make during maternity leave, in terms of what we are going to do when that period ends. Some mums know that they want to stay at home with their children, and are fortunate to be able to do so financially; and some mums like me who have built a career want to be able to go back to work.

Watching the Budget today made me realise that as a country we don’t do enough to champion new mothers who want to return to work. The Chancellor announced that the number of free hours of childcare for 3/4 year olds was being increased from 15 to 30 hours. I think that is absolutely wonderful, and great for working families, but, that won’t help me as my little boy will be 12 months old when I need to return to work.

In order to return to my job full time, I need to pay £1300 each month for childcare. The downside for me is that as my child is under 3 years old, I get no additional support from the state to support me going back to work. So, why is this? Does the government believe that mothers should be staying at home with their children until they are 3 years old?

After paying for my monthly childcare, and travel costs, financially it is barely worth me going back to work, which is a sad situation to be in. However, I have worked hard at University and in my career for the past 15 years to get to the stage where I am at the moment – and that is the reason I am going back.

I have a friend who is a single mum, and my take home pay after expenses will be less than the support she gets from the government for not working and being able to stay at home with her child full time. If that is the case, I sometimes wonder why i’m going back to work?

Due to the fact myself or my husband don’t qualify for any support in childcare costs, I won’t be able to have another child until I know that my firstborn qualifies for some free childcare when he is 3 years old. I often wonder whether it’s worth being a career minded woman in the UK, and can see why so many women feel as though they have to choose between having a career or having children.

So, my question to you on International Women’s day is – what happened to championing women? And, why are we making it so hard for new mums to go back to the workplace?

Kind regards,

Mummy S x

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