Women’s rights organizations spent centuries fighting for women to be allowed into the same learning spaces and workplaces as their male colleagues. Modern civilization has come a long way in Michigan since the restrictions of the 1800s, but women nonetheless face challenges at work that men do not.
One particular challenge is maintaining a career after starting a family. The discrimination begins as early as pregnancy and creates ugly cases. The New York Times highlights three instances it came across while studying the state of pregnancy discrimination in modern-day America.
1. Heavy lifting while pregnant
While working at one of the country’s largest supermarket chains, one woman’s supervisors told her she should keep lifting heavy items. The reason? She saw a celebrity do a backflip on TV while she was almost due, so this worker should just cope. The woman became injured.
2. Laid off before childbirth
Before getting pregnant, one woman had an impressive work record. She won several awards as a top saleswoman at her company. Yet, just three weeks before she gave birth, her employer dismissed her.
3. Pumping milk in the closet
Another woman had worked her way up to the senior floor of a financial company. After she got pregnant, the workers began to belittle her. She did not lose her job, but when she returned from maternity leave, they told her to pump milk in a utility closet filled with recycling bins.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, when a woman becomes pregnant and is unable to fulfill her usual duties, her condition is covered as a temporary disability. It is also unlawful to demote or fire her because of her condition. Additionally, harassing her in the office is illegal.
Yet, these incidents continue to happen to women every day across the country. The companies that allow this type of behavior are some of the largest and most prominent in America. This causes many cynics to wonder if society has ventured as far from the 1800s as we like to think.