Guide to microaggressions against parents and carers

We’ve launched a guide to highlight the microaggressions experienced by individuals who are parents and carers, pregnant, going on or returning from maternity, paternity, adoption or extended carers leave as part of our Inclusion and Diversity work. It joins others in the series, which examine disability, gender, race, LGBTQIA+ and age related microaggressions.

Microaggressions can be intentional or unintentional comments or actions directed against a person who is usually part of a marginalised group, that signal disrespect and inequality.

Our new guide takes a look at the discrimination around being pregnant, difficulties experienced in pregnancy, and returning back from maternity leave or extended carers leave, right through to being a parent and carer. Some of the stereotypes discussed are how pregnancy and maternity affect career progression, the time new parents spend with their children and the need to care for a spouse or family member. The document also looks at intersectional barriers faced by people with additional protected characteristics including sex, disability, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

The reference has been written with support from the RPS Action in Belonging, Culture and Diversity (ABCD) group who have shared their real-life examples including Helena Young, Patricia McCormick, Ashifa Trivedi and Julie Morgan.

Helena Young, CPPE Education Supervisor for the Yorkshire and Humber Region said:

“Early in my career, I was quite naïve about the different needs of parents, carers or anyone pregnant in my team. My own experiences of having children and returning from maternity leave and supporting line-reports returning from parental leave or becoming carers to elderly relatives, opened my eyes to the range of different issues that people experience going through these life events. This campaign is important not only for raising awareness of challenges, but in helping to empower individuals to understand what support can be available in the workplace.”

Patricia McCormick, Deputy Chief Pharmacist at Transformation said:

“This is an informative, practical tool that we can all use to reduce the barriers parents and carers experience in the workplace.”

Ashifa Trivedi, a Specialist Hospital Pharmacist said:

“I believe our work on microaggressions will help parents and carers better understand their rights, be a source of information for both parents and carers as well as employers as well as helping to have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of pharmacy staff. No longer should a woman feel that her career is limited because she chooses to have a family.”

Julie Morgan, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice and Deputy Head of School University of Bradford said:

“The parents and carers campaign is an important one because many of us will attempt parenthood, be/become a parent and/or carer at some point in our careers and all of us will work with colleagues who are parents and/or carers. The resources will really help to support parents and carers in the workplace.  Importantly the resources also help us to recognise and consider that not all children are born to a mummy and a daddy after a natural conception, straightforward pregnancy and uncomplicated birth; there are many routes to parenthood and many ways of being a family.  It is good to challenge our assumptions around this and acknowledge different family structures.”

Read the full guide here and download the posters for your workplace.

To get involved in helping us deliver our Inclusion and Diversity strategy join our ABCD group and take part in our ABCD meetings. 

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