I’m surely not alone in thinking that a great degree of change is required in the employment landscape, to ensure more flexibility for working parents. But keen to understand what the general public thinks, specifically about part-time career opportunities for working mothers, I carried out some research.

The findings were clear – mothers returning to work after maternity leave are frustrated at the huge lack of part-time opportunities to further their careers.

The UK-wide survey – which canvassed the views of women from a wide range of industry sectors and varying levels of seniority – revealed that while part-time employment is the most popular choice when returning to work, the vast majority of women feel that this has damaged their career prospects.

A large number of respondents (71%) returned to work part-time after having their children, but the benefits in terms of providing a time balance between work and caring for their families are outweighed by other factors, as the survey revealed:

The survey provides concrete evidence that more needs to be done to promote the expertise and experience that working mothers can provide. Women should be judged on and rewarded for their abilities, regardless of their parental status or how many hours they are contracted to work – something that my organisation MMB has been championing since the beginning. In fact we’ve received a great deal of support from a variety of high profile working mothers such as TV star Angela Griffin, best known for her appearances in Lewis, Waterloo Road and Cutting It; Team GB para-cycling athlete Caroline Wareing and Apprentice star Claire Young.

The survey does point out some positives, namely that 23% of respondents believe their employers understand and embrace part-time working, while a further 17% said that their employers are making a concerted effort to adapt.

I spoke to Marie Walsh Employment Law Partner and Owner at Consilia Legal LLP about the findings. She said: “The results of this survey are a little disappointing but not surprising. We all need to work together in the private and public sectors to redress the balance in respect of part time workers who often work more efficiently than their full time equivalents but with less recognition. Discrimination legislation does assist to a degree but overall it’s a general change in attitude that is required.”

Acas has produced a guide and Code of Practice on flexible working to help businesses and employers manage flexible working requests in a reasonable way and avoid any pitfalls. Acas Head of Equality Steve Williams explains why: "Many employers recognise that they can retain talented staff by offering a flexible approach to work and a healthy work life balance can help business success and growth.

"Businesses should treat all their workers fairly to help them stay within the law and avoid any potential legal action for pregnancy or maternity-related discrimination.”

And Catherine Baker, founder of Sport and Beyond said: “Amidst all the chatter and debate around women in the workplace, I have always believed that two things stand out as priorities: the importance of increased opportunity for women; and the importance of getting on and doing rather than just talking.  Abbie’s initiative and drive with Mothers Mean Business has ticked both these boxes, and I wish her all the best with this.”

With more change needed, I hope that what I’ve achieved in the early days of MMB will inspire other parents – both men and women – to pursue the flexible career paths that they seek, in order to advance and enrich their professional and family lives.