LONDON – Protesters in Halloween costumes marched in cities around Britain on Saturday to demand more affordable child care.
The March of the Mummies was called to demand reforms to U.K. rules on childcare, parental leave and flexible working that organizers say keep many parents – mostly mothers – from returning to the workforce.
Demonstrations were held in cities including Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast. Hundreds of demonstrators marched from London’s Trafalgar Square to Parliament, including families with children wearing bandages, vampire costumes and witches’ hats.
Among the placards and banners were signs saying “Raising children is not a side hustle” and “When it’s cheaper to stay at home than work, then the system is run by a jerk.”
Britain has the among the highest childcare costs among 38 developed countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“We’ve got a cost-of-living crisis and an economy that isn’t growing. You can’t solve either of those challenges without investing in child care,” said opposition Labour Party lawmaker Stella Creasy, who attended the London march.
“For me, investing in child care pays off because the more women – and it is mainly women being penalized by this – can work, the more families can make choices that work for them,” she said.