Last week I randomly submitted a response to some 'call for evidence' of discrimination on the EHRC website. I ranted on about the negative stereotypes associated with young parents encouraged by influential people, and how this got in the way of proper research about what support young mums want/need. I ranted about schools, colleges and universities not being equipped to deal with pregnant students or students with children, the lack of consistency in support offered, and the general acceptance that some pregnant girls get 'kicked out' of school/college or feel that they need to leave because the time table isn't flexible enough to fit in with being a mum.
Anyway I'm sure it's just a coincidence but this week I see that a consultation on the draft Equality Bill on the EHRC website now has 'pregnancy/maternity' as a specific 'protected group' (along with age, gender, race, etc).

This is what it says about eduction providers:

An education provider should not treat a pregnant woman or a new mother worse than they would treat a man or a non-pregnant woman.

It is not sex discrimination against a man to make special provision for a woman in connection with her pregnancy or maternity.

Flexibility in course provision
  • In order to ensure that course provision meets the needs of all students and potential students, HEIs should consider the impact that parenting and caring responsibilities have on women’s and men’s ability to engage in higher education.
  • Courses that are delivered flexibly will enable women and men with caring responsibilities to access FE and HE.  Provision that fits in with their caring responsibilities and affordable childcare on or nearby campus, can assist in widening participation.
Child care
  • You are permitted to provide (or make arrangements for or facilitate) childcare for your students’ children.  This includes all kinds of assistance with childcare including paying for it, subsidising it, or enabling students to spend more time caring for their child.