As you can see from the comments this post has generated at The Moderate Voice, there’s a lot of whining about how business would suffer if they cared about pregnant women, about how pregnant women shouldn’t be treated differently from anyone else with a need to take leave and how pregnant women don’t deserve to be in any special class that would get privileges no one else would get.
I can’t make the forest for the trees view of this any clearer than I do below:
1. The United States is a developed country that uses and abuses its female workforce based on the fact that they’re female and are the only ones who can get pregnant. I think that’s abhorrent and developed countries can and should do better, even within the context of business. Successful corporations do it all the time and here’s one list to get you started. Furthermore, from that article, emphasis mine:
The bottom line is that your direct supervisor, specific job and work group will have a tremendous impact on whether you truly are able to benefit from the work-life balance policies in your employee manual. But at the least, having those policies on the books is a first step. I’m glad Working Mother is doing the hard work of evaluating these companies and calling attention to the need for family-friendly benefits.
Look at the stark contrast between companies on the list and national averages. Only 16 percent of U.S. companies offer job sharing, versus 98 percent of the Best Companies. One quarter nationally provide health insurance to part-time workers, versus 99 percent of the 100 Best, according to Working Mother.
2. There is no place in our lexicon for saying that a person is pro-woman but that being pro-women excludes fighting for workplace policies that allow all women, not just the married or wealthy ones, to make the same choices without penalties – such as losing your job because you’re pregnant, a penalty men will never face. If there is information that supports that that is in fact a penalty men face, I would support crafting workplace policies that eliminate that penalty.
3. Political candidates who classify themselves or allow others to classify them as conservative feminists (aka “Mama Grizzlies”) need to demonstrate what that means. Few people would argue that there is great confusion as to how that is operationalized in real life. Being labeled something is one thing – showing what you do and what policies you support then fills out the definition of who fulfills that label.
4. I want to know how the conservative feminists (a term for which it’s nearly impossible to find a definition) and Mama Grizzlies respond to workplace policies that clearly do not support families, do not support women, do not support children.
That’s it. Really not complicated at all. Looking forward to the responses.