December saw the 35th anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which made it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of being pregnant. This was a landmark move for women’s rights, because even though not all women get pregnant, pretty much all pregnant people are women. The basic idea was that women affected by pregnancy had the right to be treated as well as any other employee, tenant, etc. It was intended to end the common practice of forcing women off of jobs when they started to show.
Now Congress is thinking about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which goes a step further by demanding that pregnant women be accommodated in their jobs the same way someone would be who has a disability or injury. Rather than making a pregnant woman quit working her job in the stock room, for instance, they might move her to the cash register. Similar laws have recently taken effect in New York state.
So if you don’t have/don’t want kids, why should you care? Why is this a social justice issue? Women shouldn’t have to choose between their pregnancies and their jobs, because men don’t have to choose.
In this episode, I explain the issue in more detail and give reasons why everyone who identifies as a feminist and everyone who purports to be in favor of equality, even if you don’t want to have kids of your own, should support this initiative.