THE working world has been accused of being highly critical of mothers as well as pregnant women.
Now a local media personality has hit back at her detractors, who have criticised her for working while she is pregnant.
Roxy Burger, who is pregnant with her first child, has graced South African screens as the host of E! Entertainment’s How Do I Look SA, with her baby belly fully visible.
Since the show aired last month, people have taken to social media to call the mom-to-be out for working while pregnant.
In response, Burger last week hit back at the comments which she described as "body shaming".
In a tweet she wrote: “Seen a couple of body-shaming comments regarding the fact that I presented while pregnant. Sorry that this successful, working mommy (mommy-to-be) makes you uncomfortable and challenges your societal norm of what motherhood looks like. Oh wait, I’m actually not sorry at all.”
Following the bold tweet, the 31-year-old garnered praise from her followers, who applauded her for taking a stand on the contentious issue.
Burger, however, is not the only one to have found herself in the line of fire when it comes to pregnancy and motherhood.
Another Joburg mother told the Saturday Star that she faced her own share of criticism for working while she was pregnant.
“When I was pregnant, my family, friends and even my colleagues would insist that I should stay at home, even though I have an office job which doesn't really require any physical labour,” said the mother who didn't want to be named in fear of victimisation.
“I didn't feel that it was necessary to stay at home and do nothing for nine months while I was pregnant and I hated all the comments about me still working because I wasn’t putting my child or myself in danger," she added.
“Now that I have given birth and returned to work, I still get people telling me that I would be better off staying at home with my daughter.”
This working mother insists that her child is sufficiently cared for while she is employed in the workplace.
“I would love to stay at home with my daughter, but I need my job to financially care for her and I have family looking after her while I am at work, so she is also emotionally looked after, even when I am not there.”
The plight of working mothers, as well as mothers-to-be around the country, has garnered so much attention that several steps have been taken to protect such women in the workplace.
This includes the South African Labour Law, which states that pregnant job-seekers are under no obligation to inform potential employers of their condition.
The Labour Relations Act of 1995 also classifies that a dismissal of an employee due to a pregnancy, an intended pregnancy, or a reason that relates to pregnancy, is automatically unfair.
Meanwhile, the Working Mothers Exhibition was held for the first time last year.
Much of the event focused on how women could juggle motherhood and their careers.
Other parts of the exhibition provided practical advice on how mothers could manage their time more effectively, as well as how to give the very best of themselves at home, in the kitchen and with their families.
Founder and chief executive Janice Windt said the expo was very well received, with many working mothers coming together to share their unique stories. She added that society needs to be less critical of mothers, as she believed that they all contributed in some way, whether it was in the workforce, at home or a combination of the two.
“The world needs you to do exactly what you do each and every day.
“It’s really important to realise just how precious and irreplaceable you are, not just as a wife, partner, career woman or even as a mother, but as an individual who has something very special to contribute to the world through the roles you play and the work you do.”
The Saturday Star