As the United Nations states, International Women’s Day is a day to reflect on progress made, to celebrate ordinary women doing extraordinary things for their countries and communities and, most importantly of all, to call for change.
This International Women’s Day, as CEO of Moment Health I am proud to be pressing for change and to be standing alongside two organisations I admire with all my heart: Tommy’s and Working Forward. Together we called for change at a special event on prioritising maternal mental health for the women and parents network at Transport for London (TFL). It was so refreshing to hear about all the policies, support networks and see first hand the appetite for new tools to do more to support staff who find the journey of parenting difficult. We recognise that not all pregnancies or parenting journeys are successful.
When we care for and protect a mother’s mental wellbeing, we’re not protecting one woman – her experience extends to her child, her partner, family, and community; to future generations.
And when we call for change to improve the rights of women in the workplace, we’re calling for a better workplace for every man and woman. As it stands, our call for change comes at a time when 27 per cent of pregnant women experience mental health problems. Our call for change comes at a time when research reveals 59 per cent of UK employers believe a woman should have to disclose whether she is pregnant during the recruitment process, and about a third of employers are of the opinion pregnant employees and new mothers are ‘generally less interested in career progression’, despite the fact that research also shows women working flexible hours are the most productive people in the workforce. Our call for change comes at a time when companies who promote women into senior management positions see a boost in profits.
This International Women’s Day, I’m proud to say we at Moment Health #PressforProgress when it comes to doing more to support the 39 per cent of women who experience symptoms of PTSD three months after a miscarriage, and the 40 per cent of fathers who feel vulnerable and powerless after the loss of a baby – yes, of course we #PressforProgress when it comes to dads, too.
We #PressforProgress at work, when 96 per cent of women who have had a miscarriage felt they couldn’t turn to their boss for support. When 45 per cent of pregnant women feel discriminated against at work, and half of female employees are nervous about informing their bosses of their pregnancy.
We #PressforProgress so that women and men the world over can gain access to support services so they can overcome mental health illnesses at work, during pregnancy, throughout parenthood, in the workplace, at home.
As Arianna Huffington so rightly points out, “As the science shows, true success comes not when we burn out, but when we prioritise our wellbeing. If we can bring the way we work in line with what we know to be true, we’ll create a more equitable, sustainable world for everybody.” When change comes, it will benefit everybody.
So let’s make way for that change. The time truly is now.
A bit about Moment Health…
Moment Health is a technology company that aims to prioritise Maternal Mental Health and provide new parents with the tools and knowledge they need to sustain good mental wellbeing – from pregnancy through to parenthood.
The Moment Health app has been developed with clinicians and healthcare professionals. It screens for perinatal, postnatal and associated anxieties, and includes additional features such as a helpful guide to practical and accessible coping strategies.
At Moment Health, our mission is to make maternal mental health mainstream #MakeItMainstream.