Guest Post by Dave Casserly
One thing feminists talk about a lot, including in this blog, is the gender wage gap. The gender wage gap is exactly what it sounds like– the difference in wages between men and women doing the same or equivalent work. It exists, and it’s a huge way of enforcing patriarchy through women’s dependence on men. There are many causes, including conscious discrimination, women’s responsibility for childcare and other household duties, and wage secrecy, which I spend much of my professional life fighting. But I’m not here to tell you about those things. I’m here to talk about pregnancy discrimination, which has a difficult-to-measure but likely large effect on women’s opportunities in the workplace.
Illustration: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
When I say pregnancy discrimination, I mean actions employers take against employees because those employees either are pregnant, were pregnant, or might be pregnant in the future. This includes not hiring pregnant women as a general policy, which, believe it or not, happens. In fucking 2013. Okay, maybe that link was from 2011 but the case just settled now, in 2013, and things haven’t changed all that much in two years. But pregnancy discrimination can be subtle, too, such as when women, particularly young, recently-married women, find it harder to get promoted or get important assignments because their employers think they might take maternity leave at some point. Or when employers retaliate against employees who take maternity leave.