Pregnancy Shouldn't Cost Any Woman Her Job

pregnantWhen Camila McConaughey found out she was pregnant with baby number three, she was signed on to model for Macy's INC International Concepts' campaign. But the campaign didn't hire a pregnant woman so she worried they wouldn't want a pregnant model working for them. Yes, she's a model and her looks are everything, but Camila said it's all worked out and she didn't lose her job. Which is a big sigh of relief. Great on the company's part -- no woman deserves to lose her job because she's pregnant. Yet women everywhere -- women who aren't models and whose looks aren't a part of their job -- have been fired or laid off when their bosses found out they were expecting. 

Fired for being pregnant. Totally wrong. Should be illegal. But it's not.

Of course, Yahoo sent a strong message when they hired Marissa Mayer as their CEO when she was pregnant. Though Mayer did say that she would work through her maternity leave and only expects she will be away from work for a few weeks. Which makes me sad. Did she set a standard by saying that? I feel like she had to say something because far too many were overly concerned about Yahoo's decision to hire a pregnant woman who would take a leave after baby arrives leaving Yahoo to crumble into a mess. We all know that wouldn't happen, but many do think that way. She, like all women, should be able to take the maternity leave she wants to take without having to justify it. But some in the big power world of business see maternity leave as a weakness. Which means essentially that they see women who have children as weak employees. Undesirable workers.

Sure there are risks involved with having a pregnant worker -- they need to take time off for appointments at the doctor, then there is maternity leave, and sometimes they finish out however long that leave is and then decide to stay home with their child. But there are risks with any worker staying at a job forever -- male or female.

I know someone who lost their job because she got pregnant. It wasn't a case for a lawyer because they said they were eliminating her position. They did. But they just re-named it and hired someone else to do the same work. I also know women who are putting off starting a family because their job is just too much and they can't afford to leave it to have a baby.

All of this tells me that far too much of our society sees women as weaker workers. We get paid less than men for the same job. We are told we are obscene for feeding our baby. We have a pathetic maternity leave policy if we have one at all.

Family. Seen as a weakness. Maybe the candidates who talk about their family values should also consider the real core values of families all over, particularly mothers, and protect us more. Women shouldn't be in fear of losing their jobs because they are pregnant, whether we are famous like Camila McConaughey or not. The biggest worry we should have is just how to tell your boss you're pregnant -- not the repercussions from it. Babies make the world go round. Continue the human race. Grow up to be (hopefully) great contributors to society. The very people who fire women for being pregnant were babies once, too. Maybe if more people remember that, things will change. We all have mothers. All mothers should be respected.

Do you know of any women who lost their job after becoming pregnant? Is it fair?


Image via David Boyle/Flickr

celeb moms, motherhood, the pregnant life


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MomLi... MomLily67

It is totally unfair and in some countries, illegal. Some employers do inform female workers beforehand that  becoming pregnant can put them and their babies at risk depending on the nature of the job.

I've actually  heard stories about the opposite, ladies getting hired because they were pregnant and discriminated against in other companies, I personally know one.  Or ladies getting hired and finding out just after being hired.   Never personally known anyone being fired for getting pregnant while having been working for a company for a while or just a little time.

nonmember avatar Shelly

Can we all just swallow our pride and be honest? It's TRUE!! Women ARE weaker workers! Women take more time off, they need more sick days, they need to leave early more, they need to leave when their kids get sick, they need to leave for school parties, they need to leave for morning sickness, doctor's appointments. The point is women are not at work MORE then men. Much more. Why should a women get the same pay as a man who is there every day, when she is not? It doesn't make sense. You get paid for the work you do. If you are there less, doing less work...why should you get paid the same? It's a CHOICE to have a family and take all this time off. It's a CHOICE not to split the duties between two parents. I realize many man leave work for family things, but the gap between men and women doing this, is huge. Women cost MORE money then men. They put in LESS hours. Why should the get paid more?? (I'm talking about a women who all of this applies to, not women who are putting in the same hours and work as a man.) If being pregnant will cause a women to not be able to preform her duties, she should be let go.

EvaSa... EvaSamuel

Shelly, can you please provide some statistics to back up your assertions?


It depends 100% on what the job is. If you're a factory worker and unload 80 pound sheets of plywood coming out of a sander then I don't think you should be doing that job at the end of a pregnancy but most employers, like us, will find another place for that worker for the remainder of her pregnancy. We wouldn't "fire" someone for getting pregnant.

It also depends on the job "despription." It's got nothing to do with being weak but everything to do with being safe and it's got to do with, if say, you're a model, how would you be able to do what they hired you for? Or an actor? It's easy to hide in a series but how safe would it be to make a movie? Or should I say, how smart would it be?

I also don't see the "men workers" as relevant in this discussion. Men aren't the ones at risk while pregnant. This post has to many "what ifs."

stork... storkneedsgps

I think schools are the worst for this, atleast the one I work at. The principal puts tremendous pressure on the teachers to have summer babies

We get no paid time off but can use our sick days if we have enough.

work4... work4mickey

Motherhood used to be so sacred that it was the only job expected or required of her. The problem is not that she'll lose her job, it's that it's expected and practically required for a woman to work in addition to being a mom in the first place. Women should not expect to have it all or expected ro do it all. It should be one or the other.

summe... summerblythe

Shelly you can go fuck yourself. I worked my ass off even when I was pregnant and I lost my job when I was pregnant because "buisness was slow" I still don't know if that was the real reason.

nonmember avatar Expecting

Agree with summerblythe. Shelly, you are an idiot and a disgrace to women everywhere. I was fired just a few days ago because, quote "we need a long term employee but we have found that you will be short-term" exactly a week after breaking the news that I was expecting a child. It is not only illegal, but quite honestly the worst time to fire a woman. It leaves you feeling stressed and almost guilty because you are pregnant. These are no feelings that an expecting mother should have. I have just filed my complaint to the EEOC and am speaking to an attorney. If you or anyone you know has been fired because of their pregnancy, encourage them to file a complaint with EEOC. Employers should NOT get away with this behavior.

Todd Vrancic

My wife went back to work TWO WEEKS after a C-section.  She said she was going crazy at home.  She wasn't the nurturing type, I was.  She did not love our kids any less than I did, we are just different people, with different temperaments and skills.  I did most of the day-to-day care of our kids and was a SAHD.  And if anyone doesn't like that, too freaking bad!

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