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