Discrimination towards women in the workforce is an issue I think every woman thinks about and watches for at some point. Discrimination toward working women who are pregnant or have children is an issue I haven’t done a lot of research on, until now. I stumbled across these articles yesterday and found them very interesting.
Unfortunately, the article discusses the ever-present discrimination pregnant women still face in the United States. Seems so 1950’s, right? Hello people, this is the 21st century, why is this even still an issue? It’s an issues whose charges against it have grown about 15% in the past 10 years. Low-wage working women are hit the hardest by this form of discrimination. Employers are unwilling to make minor workplace accommodations for women to allow them to continue working through out their pregnancy. Such as, sitting on a stool rather than standing or carrying a water bottle.
Another fact I did not realize is that the United States in one of the only industrialized nations that does not mandate paid sick days for employees. There are several doctors appointments through out a women’s pregnancy and let’s be honest, rarely do they ever run on schedule. One woman was fired from her janitorial position because her OB was running behind and thus she was late to work.
Of the message boards I have visited, several women have made posts about how nervous they were to tell their employer about their pregnancy. They made comments such as, “My boss is going to flip.” “I’m up for a promotion and I don’t want to chance not getting it.” What is supposed to be the most exciting time in your life is crippled by a society that doesn’t value people with family responsibilities. Is there anything more important than family? If you said yes, then I suggest you do some serious soul-searching.
I then found this article which blows the entire mindset for discriminating against working women who have children. http://www.forbes.com/sites/shenegotiates/2012/02/10/working-mothers-make-better-employees-but-less-money/
After reading the article on my lunch, eyebrows furrowed, I felt like getting on top of my chair at work and saying, “Yeah! That’s right! Working mothers kick ass!” However, I decided to put my thoughts into this blog instead. Working mothers on average earn 14% less than childless working women. Data even suggests that mothers face wage penalties with each child. However, there is no data to support the stereotype that working mothers are less productive than women without children.
The article went on to point out that having a child changes a woman and provides her with more daily leadership, growth and management experience than she would typically get on the job. These are experiences women need to focus on when entering the workforce after having a child. It seems that women will work 22% longer and 10% faster than their male coworkers before they feel entitled to earn the same compensation. Excuse me? Work harder and longer for the same compensation as someone working less? When you think about it logically it doesn’t make any sense why we would do that, but we do! We only consider the amount of years actually in the workforce rather than factoring in the skills we’ve gained by becoming a mother.
After reading these articles I also realized how incredibly lucky I am to work where I do. I couldn’t wait to tell my director! In fact, there were several times I just wanted to blurt it out to her but wanting to see the ultrasound first kept me quiet. Having such amazing support makes me want to come back to work and work even harder for an organization that values me and my other responsibilities. I am very nervous about the work, home life balance and know it will take some adjusting. Knowing I have support on both sides of the equation is going to make the transition that much smoother.
So everyone knows what today is! In just a few hours we will hopefully find out the gender of our little bean. Have a great weekend and stay tuned for the gender reveal on Monday!