By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director
She was married, but finances were tight. So when she was abruptly dismissed from her job, the removal carried with it a decimating economic sting.
The reason for her forced departure? She was pregnant with me.
I always felt a tinge of sadness and a healthy amount of outrage when I heard my mother recount the story of how she lost her job because of her first pregnancy. It seemed so unjust, so cruel.
But that was so long ago. Surely, the situation is much improved today for pregnant women.
However, perhaps times have not changed all that much—at least among some short-sighted employers.
Consider this report from The Daily Caller. A former Google employee alleges the tech giant discriminates against pregnant women. Here are her heartfelt words:
I’m sharing this statement because I hope it informs needed change in how Google handles discrimination, harassment and retaliation. … The details are important in understanding the often drawn-out, isolating and painful experience of victims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
The woman had been told she could not manage a corporate team because her maternity leave would “stress the team” and “rock the boat.”
In a statement to the Daily Caller, Google countered: “We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very clear policy. To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation.”
Nevertheless, if the allegations prove true, the situation is a stunning example of the lack of support that can drive a pregnant woman to abort. Research has shown that support—material, emotional, psychological—can be key in determining whether a woman chooses life for her preborn baby.
Companies need to provide supportive environments for pregnant women and new mothers. Such women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect—and their choice for life needs to be respected as well.
Any one of us can be the voice for change that enables pregnant women to thrive in what might otherwise be a less-than-welcoming workplace. It is these everyday encounters that can help empower women to bring their babies safely into the world.