Feeling blocked from promotion due to working part time

I’m currently working part time following my return to work from maternity just over a year ago. Since then I have applied for two promotions, one of which I was openly told I couldn’t have because I was part time. I have recently applied for a third, but have been told I probably won’t get it as it is advertised as a full-time role. My employer only ever advertises roles as full time. There are at last three people in my office who have returned to the job I am hoping to be promoted to who are all working part time due to childcare, yet I’m told I’m not able to be promoted unless I’m willing to go full time.
Is this fair and can my employers refuse me any upward movement until I agree to full-time hours?

Part Time or Full Time

 

This is a difficult one because clearly there are opportunities to work part time, but perhaps not in the positions that you have applied for.
If the jobs are genuinely full-time posts then I cannot see that there can be any discrimination on the basis of being a part-time worker, especially when there is evidence that part-time work exists and has been carried out by other returners.

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