'I did not want to be treated differently' - Councillor hid baby bump during campaign
Newly elected Dublin City councillor Marie Sherlock hid her pregnancy during her campaign out of fear of discrimination.
Speaking on RTE Radio One’s Ryan Tubridy Show earlier today, the newly-elected councillor for the Cabra-Glasnevin area in the north of Dublin city said she “did not want to be treated any differently” than a male candidate would have been.
“You wouldn’t treat a man differently if his partner was expecting a child. Luckily, I have had a very good pregnancy and still a lot of energy. Ultimately it is about not being treated differently to any other candidate.”
Ms Sherlock said that the fact that it is her third child helped her to know what to expect during the pregnancy and how to “cover the bump with big coats, sweatshirts and scarves.”
While she understands the concern of citizens about her managing the workload of a councillor during her pregnancy, Cllr Sherlock said she had considered the implications.
“I have a great support network around me. There is no reason why I can’t get to the meetings. It won’t be easy at the start but it is certainly very doable. I don’t want people to have the impression that there won’t be anything done for 6 months,” she said.
She sees herself facing an issue that many women are confronted with in today’s world.
“There is a more serious and bigger issue here. There is discrimination out there against women who are pregnant and how they are treated in the workplace or any other environment.”
Furthermore, Ms Sherlock highlighted the difficult circumstances female councillors are facing if they get pregnant.
“The reality is that there is no maternity leave for Councillors. This needs to be addressed. Some arrangements need to be put in place to allow the flexibility and balance to those elected.”
She mentioned that the process of putting your name and your ideas forward is stressful enough and that women should not be facing these additional challenges.
Cllr Sherlock added that she was glad that there is “quite the number of people on the council, both newly elected and re-elected that also have young children.”
Overall she looks back on the experiences during her special campaign and election with fondness.
“Of course it is very tough and exhausting because of all the work that is involved and because I’m trying to be active and connected in my community. But It has been a wonderful experience overall.”