The wrong type of baby bouncer

As head of the interior design arm of Sheppard Robson, I have been responsible over the past few years for the interior design and space strategy for clients such as the BBC, BP, RBS and other well-known brands and organisations.

Currently on maternity leave, I decided to visit the 100% Design exhibition at Earls Court in London yesterday to catch up with some contacts and take advantage of the networking opportunities before I return to work.

Having arranged childcare for my four-year-old, I spent the morning working with a member of my team on a design for a high-profile client nearby, with my son six-month-old son Josh – who, like most babies of this age, is still being breast fed – by my side. The staff at this venue were fantastic.

From there I headed to the exhibition, having pre-registered, but on arriving I was informed that children were not allowed. Pointing out that my son was a mere six months old – and would therefore be a babe in arms, and consequently not mobile – and that I couldn’t leave him, I was still refused entry.

When I continued to protest, security was called and bouncers arrived to remove this lone woman with a baby. I am aware of five other women who also pre-registered and were given similar treatment.

I have since checked the exhibition website to look for clarification – actually there are two, contradictory policies regarding children.

To clarify my point, I agree that children should not be allowed, but nursing mothers and their babies are a completely different story. Perhaps I am being naive, but I was under the impression that the design industry was committed to promoting equal opportunities for all. Does this exclude mothers?

Helen Berresford, Partner, Head of IDSR, London NW1 7PU

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