The problem with this argument is that, like Argument 1, it presents an individual solution, namely switching jobs, to the systemic problem of unfair societal attitudes towards mothers.
What’s more, putting the onus on people facing discrimination to retreat from injustice smacks of victim-blaming. Why are we not asking the perpetrators of discrimination to reform and make up for their wrong-doing?
Securing a new job is not so easy for those facing maternity discrimination. Many employers are hesitant to hire mothers or pregnant candidates, which can leave them stranded without income for an indeterminate amount of time.
Anna (not her real name), a client at AWARE’s WHDA, went through this very ordeal. After being wrongfully dismissed from her workplace after announcing her pregnancy, it took her months to find a new job, despite being a consistent high-performer. She eventually took a contract role that did not offer benefits: A far-from-ideal situation that she accepted in desperation.
The negative impact of maternity discrimination on mothers and future generations should not be overlooked. Studies in other countries have found that pregnancy discrimination is significantly associated with postpartum depression and poor socioemotional development in infants.
MISCONCEPTIONS BUSTED. NOW WHAT?
The beliefs that underlie maternity discrimination – that caregiving makes someone less committed to their job, and that physical conditions like pregnancy impinge on professional performance – underpin other forms of discrimination too, such as against people with disabilities and people with caregiving responsibilities.