There are some who feel that pregnancy is not a disability. And it certainly isn't ... in most ways. But in the eyes of the law (and the land) perhaps it has to be seen as such in order for us to have rights. Let's face it: there are things we just cannot do when we are pregnant that we were able to do prior and after. And I'm not just talking about seeing our feet. Pregnant women deserve special treatment. We deserve the special parking space at the mall and the seat on the subway. And we deserve understanding from bosses or teachers. But we don't always get it.
There are women who are fired from their jobs for being pregnant. There are women who are in school, paying for a good education, only to be discriminated against because they are pregnant.
We deserve to be able to reschedule tests at school if they interfere with the fact that we are pregnant and about to give birth. With pregnancy discrimination on the rise, respect for pregnant women feels like it's at a major low. We don't expect some special red carpet rolled out every time we step outside, but we should be treated with respect and understanding. Empathy is a human emotion far too many lack.
There are situations where pregnant women lose their jobs and it's covered up by bosses by supposed "lay offs" or some sort of loophole where they don't blame pregnancy but it's clearly the reason. Last year a pregnant woman was fired for taking too many bathroom breaks. Hello empathy. Are you there?
Slate's Jessica Grose shed light on pregnancy discrimination when it comes to education. When Borough of Manhattan Community College honors student needed to make arrangements for the end of the semester because that was her due date, her teacher was not understanding. Interestingly it was a women's studies class. Gina Crosley-Corcoran aka The Feminist Breeder also discovered how her professors at a Chicago university weren't accepting her pregnancy and birth as an excuse to miss class. She learned we have rights. And it's called Title IX. Schools are required by law to allow pregnant students to reschedule exams.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act should be also protecting the rights of women in the workplace, but the law doesn't fully protect us. Take for example nursing home activities director Victoria Seredny who was fired from her job because she was pregnant -- high-risk -- and could no longer lift or move heavy objects per doctor's orders. She sued and lost.
Seat on a subway, extra bathroom breaks, rescheduled tests -- I think we deserve all these things and more when we are pregnant. I hope The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's recent move to shed light on and correct pregnancy discrimination helps make some changes. But to start, I really think people need to get in touch with their human side more and show some compassion for life.
Have you been victim of pregnancy discrimination? Do you think pregnant women deserve special treatment?
Image via David Boyle/Flickr