As we look optimistically at the latest WGEA update – with gender pay gaps now being publicly published – we join most who hope this step helps shine a light on the issue, and helps move it forward. If you want to read the report, here’s the link.

That said, we’ve also been prompted recently on another gender issue that persists way beyond believability!

Nearing the end of 2017, I wrote a plea – “Dear CEOs, Stop Sacking Pregnant Women”.

It landed on these comments:

Until then, it’s down to each CEO checking whether this is happening on your watch. Get the stats, review the examples, and call it to a stop. Let’s make 2017 the year that this just stops happening.

Enough is enough.

Evidently, my heartfelt plea failed to be heard.

So far, in 2024 – and it’s still early in the year – we’ve been approached by three women. In all three cases, they were approached by their boss (exactly as I wrote in 2017) under the guise of returning to work. When they took the unexpected call, they had the exact circumstances I wrote about in 2017 explained to them – “There’s been an unexpected restructure in the business, and of all the roles we looked at, yours is the only one that is redundant. So, a month before you return, your job is gone”.

Not OK.

Still not OK.

So, how does this change?

CEOs ask for the numbers and don’t let it happen on their watch.

How many women took parental leave? How many came back? And of those who didn’t return, where they made redundant? And what were the circumstances of that redundancies.

Those simple numbers will tell you whether you’ve got an issue or not.

Don’t let anyone explain it away, or tell you why its reasonable on each and every occasion. Don’t have anyone show you the loop-hole in the policy, that they wriggled this case through.
Hold on to logic, reason, and your intuition. If you’ve got a stack of women not making it back from Parental Leave, and you’re not in a wholesale organisational restructure, you’re probably illegally discriminating on the grounds of gender and pregnancy.

My guess is most employers have this exact problem.

The last paragraph of the 2017 article referred to the then current Point 6 from the Human Rights Commission Fact Sheet:

“A massive 54% of women in one study believed that their careers have been affected by taking maternity leave. A further 44.1% say their salaries stall, 30.4% believe their careers take a backward step and 29.9% say they sacrificed their careers when they gave birth”.

Based on the four mother’s group we sent the original blog, the many women we’ve spoken to both then and every month and year since then, including those we’ve already heard from 2024, we’d suggest that that is still a gross underestimation of the issue. 

If you’d like to read our original – and completely unchanged – article from 2017 here’s the link.

And if you want to look at the Data Explorer for the WGEA Gender Pay Gap, here’s that link too.