Flick Drummond heard about women's problems returning to work after having a baby or caring for relatives when she chaired a landmark meeting of a new parliamentary group.
The Portsmouth South MP discussed the issue during the first ever gathering of the Women and Work All-Party Parliamentary Group.
The event focused on how employers can support women to return to work, but it also heard about problems paying for childcare or employers being inflexible about childcare and caring arrangements.
A survey by the London Business School in 2014 found that 70% of women feel anxious about taking a career break due to fears about returning to work.
‘I was shocked by the statistic that women who have been out of the workplace for more than a year find it extremely difficult to find jobs and this has to be addressed,’ said Flick.
‘While the UK have relatively high female employment rates overall, our maternal employment rates are comparatively low even though research has shown that increasing overall maternal employment by around 5% could generate about £750 million in increased tax revenue and benefit savings.
‘Women returning from maternity leave or from caring for dependents have a lot of skills to offer employers and I urge business to look at offering internships and apprenticeships to people of all ages and personal circumstances.
‘This needs to be a cultural shift not just an economic one. Employers now see they can and must do more in this area because the rewards for women and the country are enormous.’
The meeting also heard from senior representatives from a number of industries who discussed the latest innovations in the workplace to tackle problems.