Loose Women is well known for hosting “controversial” views and, this week, Kelly Brook, a panellist on the daytime television show, aired her concerns about mothers who dare to acknowledge the fact that they have children. As expected, it did not go down well.
In a segment on whether or not parents of young children are reliable – which, in itself, is questionable – the presenter and model named women whose childcare arrangements get in the way of commitments one of her “pet hate[s]”.
“I don’t have children, so I don’t always understand, but I do work with some women that if they can’t make an appointment or can’t do something, or there is a deadline, and some people will always say, ‘Oh, it’s because I have to wash the baby or feed the kids,’ or, ‘I’ve got to do the school run.’
“Others have kids and you never even hear about the kids. They are very professional and I love that,” she said, sparking outrage among viewers.
Brook added: “I just think women shouldn’t use kids as an excuse not to do their job properly. I think it's nobody's business. If you can’t meet the demands of your job, don’t blame your kids.”
The gender pay gap, issues with the government’s 30-hour free-childcare scheme and a lack of support at work are not excuses – they’re the reality for countless parents up and down the country
Pointing out the difficulties of juggling work and motherhood, one Twitter user quickly highlighted the problem with equating professionalism with women whose childcare does not affect their day-to-day work.
Others reminded Brook that she had wildly misunderstood the complications that come with having a child and navigating a career, because she has yet to deal with it herself.
Brook’s comments may not be the worst ever uttered on Loose Women in its almost 20-year existence, but they are disappointing, considering the barriers that thousands of parents (and mothers in particular) are up against when it comes to balancing childcare and a career. In fact, a recent report from the Social Market Foundation showed that “of those at work 10 years after their first child was born, first-time mothers earn 11% less per hour, 19% less per month and work 9% fewer hours per week than first-time fathers”.
The gender pay gap, issues with the government’s 30-hour free-childcare scheme and a lack of support at work are not excuses – they’re the reality for countless parents up and down the country. Rather than criticising working mothers, shouldn’t Kelly Brook take issue with the systems that makes their lives harder?