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Senior Associate in Employment Law and maternity discrimination specialist Danielle Ayres joined BBC Radio 5 Live for their #mumtakeover event in Blackpool.

The event, which was live streamed via their website and Facebook page, was the UK’s biggest conversation about mums and mental health.

The live show was hosted by Anna Foster, who was joined by celeb mums Stacey Solomon, Rochelle Humes, mum blogger and author Giovanna Fletcher, and DJ Neev Spencer.

Discussions on the day ranged from post-natal depression and anxiety, to work/life balance and tackling loneliness. The celebrities, as well contributors from the audience and online were able to quiz the experts on these issues.

Danielle joined the team at BBC 5 Live Daily to speak about pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace, Danielle said:

“We are seeing and inordinate amount of calls, up to 10-12 calls a day (to the pregnantthenscrewed helpline with which Danielle volunteers her time) on a range of issues… Discrimination can come in so many different forms, from direct discrimination where a lady announces her pregnancy to a manager who says reacts poorly to the prospect of taking up to 12 months off work, to more hidden forms of discrimination such as being passed over for promotion opportunities or other people receiving pay rises whilst you’re on maternity leave…”

“I had a case recently where a lady returned to work, went over to where her desk used to be only to find a box filled with her belongings, her job had been made redundant whilst she was on maternity leave.”

When asked if Danielle was surprised by the statistic that 30% of woman have faced pregnancy or maternity discrimination in the workplace (compared to 14% of men):

“To be honest I thought it would be higher, I’m not so surprised it’s only half for men as we are still some way off in terms of getting some equality in terms of fathers taking on an equal share of the childcare commitments and shared parental leave has a really low take up.”

“I believe this number is so low because most women go into work and bear it, perhaps afraid of the stigma if they raise a grievance complaint or contact ACAS to start the tribunal process… Support is out there for women if they want to take it, but when they now have another mouth to feed and all the stress and expense that comes with having a baby they have so much going they just tend to get on with it.”

You can hear Danielle’s interview on the BBC 5 Live website here –