WIJ to name and shame best and worst employers

Lindsay Cook


Women in Journalism is planning to "name and shame" on its website companies that do not offer family-friendly policies in the workplace and which underpay female employees.

But it also wants to list the 100 companies that offer the best maternity deals for women.

WIJ hopes to offer a database of women who want to work part-time so that they can contact others in a similar position and organise job-


The website idea was given enthusiastic support at a WIJ seminar last week, held to discuss the findings of a survey on family-friendly policies (Press Gazette, 1 June).

Anne Perkins, political correspondent at The Guardian, who suggested listing the companies, said: "The Government is behind us now, things are beginning to change and women are on the brink of being able to make a significant difference."

She added that fighting for a work/

life balance was not only about caring for children but was also about everybody in the workplace.

Lindsay Cook, former managing editor of Express Newspapers and author of Working Mum: The Survival Guide, said that when her second son was born prematurely, and was in intensive care in an incubator, she received a letter from News International where she worked.

It reminded her that she wouldn’t receive any extra maternity pay just because her son was premature, and asked her when she was coming back.

She agrees that attitudes have changed.

"My greatest joy was when somebody recently got promoted while heavily pregnant and working part-time. She’s the right person for the job – and it works."

Cook argued that men as well as women should be entitled to days off if they needed it.

"It is important that this kind of leave is not just for women, but also for men to spend time with their children or relatives who need to be cared for," she said.

One member of the audience, who did not want to be named, said that despite changes in the law there were many areas of working life, such as pay and promotion, where women with family commitments were disadvantaged. Others in the audience agreed that they had similar experiences.

The WIJ survey, sponsored by Tesco, revealed that women were leaving top media jobs because employers were not providing flexible working arrangements for those with family commitments.

By Mary Stevens

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