Maternal Profiling

A January Atlanta Journal Constitution commentary between two female columnists debated the realities of Maternal Profiling -- employment discrimination against a woman who has, or will have, children. Common examples include pregnant women being fired for trumped-up reasons; interview questions designed to weed out mothers and other caregivers; performance reviews designed to eliminate those employees, whether or not work has actually been affected. The broader legal definition, used by Joan Williams and Work-Life Law Center at Hastings College of Law in California, is the term Family Responsibilities Discrimination.

Andrea Cornell Sarvady argues that, no matter what you call it, the practice is "definitely alive and well." She described two cases of women penalized at work for being moms: Auto service technician Mailyn Pickler was fired a week after she told her dealership that she was pregnant; the boss informed her that it wouldn't be prudent to drive the shuttle bus in her condition. Kohl's employee Teresa Lehman gained high marks for a decade, and was assured she was on track to become store manager. Then the mother of two saw five managerial positions go to less experienced employees who were childless or indicated they would have no more children. Laws in place to address these grievances are not always enforced. As employees increasingly take on the care of aging parents in addition to their own offspring, Sarvady agues that our society should continue to find solutions that work for both companies and caregivers.

Sarvady's colleague Shaunti Feldhahn argues that there is "an uncomfortable but legitimate business dynamic at work in situations that look like maternal profiling. If a mom chooses a less-intense job that allows her pick up Johnny at 5:30 p.m., for example, and simply can't tackle late-night meetings or last-minute travel, she'll probably be paid and promoted less than her peers who pull the all-nighter to get the client deal finished. It is frustrating for the sidelined mom, but she is getting the benefit that she prioritizes most: Family time instead of money. We shouldn't penalize a progressive company by insisting that they pay and promote [all] employees the same! Employers have hired employees to work, not just out of the goodness of their heart, and they have to think about their bottom line."

So the question for today: Is there an uncomfortable, but legitimate, business dynamic at work in situations that look like "maternal profiling?" Or do some employers, consciously or unconsciously, act with prejudice against employees who are mothers? Have you been a victim of bias? Have you ever caught yourself assuming a parent wasn't as good an employee as someone without kids? Or vice versa?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  March 5, 2008; 10:00 AM ET  | Category:  Workplaces
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First!

Posted by: fred | March 5, 2008 10:18 AM

My son's Godmother was a tenure-track assistant professor at one of the Ivy League schools when she had her first child. She only took a short maternity leave (to which she was fully entitled by law, of course) and continued to be a productive scholar.

A few years later, when she became pregnant a second time, it became apparent that she'd gone one too far. She was approached by at least one FEMALE COLLEAGUE (oh, for **shame**) and told she was dragging them all down and endangering the reputation of ALL female academics by showing such disregard for the primacy of her WORK.

The stats, in academia especially, are pretty awful for women, esp married ones, and MOST especially for those who also have children. (married male academics, however, statistically make more money, and are promoted faster, than any other category of academic.)

My friend no longer works for that particular Ivy League university, but has now joined her husband at another prestigious university which still rates near the top of all the US news & Princeton Review reports.

-almostgotit.com

Posted by: almostgotit | March 5, 2008 10:27 AM

I worked for the government in research divisions and have never had a problem with my pregnancy. I told both my bosses in my first trimester and both were extremely supportive. I took 20 weeks off with my first child and will take 12 weeks off with my second child. I was provided a laptop in case my pregnancy goes bad and I need to be on bed rest. So in that event, I don't have to take leave but can work from home for a few weeks till I deliver the baby. God willing that won't happen. But I really don't understand all this anti mother business. Maternity leave is relatively short and they know about it in plenty of time. I did take home one project during my first maternity leave and spend a few days working on it from home when they were in a crunch. I don't get why companies make such a big deal out of it. Sure if you work in a situation where your physical prescence is important, I can see how it affects them directly. But they have plenty of time to train a temp or another employee to take over some of your responsibilities. As far as having multiple kids goes, I don't see too many people having more then two children. A lot of women who really are ambitious stop at one. Some women mommy track themselves. I don't see why this is a problem. If you mommy track yourself you give up some promotions, money, prestigious projects, for flexibility. It is a fair trade. But there are other options out there. It just seems as if management refuses to recognize them.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 5, 2008 10:37 AM

Strangely, I feel the most bias from several woman in my organization that are moms themselves. Their kids are all older, and mine is a toddler. The key difference is they have on-ramped back into a career while I am obviously a working mother. They have less sympathy than the males I work with when I must leave early to get a sick kid (my husband is a teacher, so it's really hard for him to take off in the middle of the day); or when I leave promptly to get my son from day care. I had a crisis recently with a sitter who gave me 2-weeks notice to find other care, and one of them said to me "Why don't you just stay at home, wouldn't that be best for everyone?" Since she's so senior (and HR to boot...) I kept my mouth shut without even a Haxian "wow".

Posted by: RiverCityVA | March 5, 2008 10:48 AM

I went to a women in biomedical sciences meeting yesterday, and while it was pretty depressing, Reps from Deloite and Ernst and Young were there to talk about their programs to recruit and retain female employees. The results really are incredible, and make sense for the BOTTOM LINE, which we know is most important thing. The bad news is that I cannot even remotely envision colleges and universities doing anything approaching their programs.

Posted by: atb2 | March 5, 2008 10:55 AM

What the columnist Shaunti Feldhahn said: "the increasing availability of part-time and flexible work arrangements is a solution." The reality: although on paper OPM has great work-family programs, it is up to each individual agency (and in many cases each individual manager) to enforce them. There is no government culture of part time or telework. Feldhahn then says: "Unfortunately, those arrangements are often simply less productive and convenient for the company." What I read is: companies claim to have these arrangments but when you actually ask for them, you are refused.

Posted by: tsm | March 5, 2008 10:58 AM

As a single, childless woman, I often find that the reverse is true, especially in companies where most of the employees are married with children or that tout themselves as "family friendly." You have to leave at 5 on the dot to pick up your child at day care? No problem. I want to leave at 5 on the dot to go to a ball game? I'm a bad employee. You have to stay home because your kid has the sniffles. Sure, feel free. I have to stay home because my furnace broke and there's no one else to let in the repairman? Sorry, you'll have to reschedule because the boss wants to have a staff meeting. Single, childless people have plenty of responsibilities too - and no one to take care of them besides ourselves. Too often companies define "family friendly" as policies that help parents with their children...I'd like to see more companies with "LIFE-friendly" policies that take into account the outside pressures we ALL face. Sure, it's important for companies to recognize and make allowances for people with kids...but they need to be balanced and fair with EVERYONE.

Posted by: dcgirl1899 | March 5, 2008 11:04 AM

dcgirl:In my office the three people who have flexible schedules is one married mother of two who telecommutes two days a week, a married mother of one (soon to be two) works four days a week for a reduction in pay and leave (me), and a childless single women. I don't think it has to do with parental status. The mother who telecommutes lives 2 hours away from our place of employment. I do think working from home two days a week saves her a lot of time (namely 8 hours out of her day). I do think this would be granted if the job fit to male or female or childless if the commute was the same. The single childless person works a compressed schedule to get every other Friday off. She works 9 hour days the other days (and one 8 hour day) in a 9 day cycle to make up the time. Again, obviously her gender and parental status had nothing to do with it. I was definitely given part time as a carry over from another division. Probably would not have been granted otherwise. But also my job has been tailored to meet those reduced hours. But I get a reduction in pay and leave and frankly will never get promoted working part time. I get all the unexciting projects etc... Doesn't bother me one bit. But it is not a situation for all people. You got a give a little to get a little.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 5, 2008 11:18 AM

TSM: What I read is: companies claim to have these arrangments but when you actually ask for them, you are refused.

______________________

You are so right. But I've also seen reverse discrimination...My husband worked for big name accounting/consulting firm who was always on the Working Mother list. He couldn't take advantage of a single one of their "family-friendly" benefits...telecommuting, compressed schedule, you name it. There appeared to be no valid reason for it. He was a good employee in a position that would work well in a flexible situation. But some of the moms were given whatever they wanted because they were buddies with the big boss. One would routinely call in for conference calls from her "home office" with a toddler screaming in the background. We assume that they thought that as a man, he didn't need any of these benefits because he had a wife to deal with taking care of the family (myself also working full-time).

Posted by: jljardon | March 5, 2008 11:20 AM

I'm with DCGirl. I am single, no children. Every effort is made for moms and dads, but I have to justify leaving on time. Want to see a ballgame? Sorry, that's not good enough. Taking a class, sorry that doesn't stack up to attending Junior's play. Need someone who has no legitimate excuse NOT to work overtime - pick the singleton, every time. I'm happy for my coworkers who have kids. But each child for them means more work, and a more restrictive schedule for me. It builds resentment.

Posted by: babsy1 | March 5, 2008 11:27 AM

Yes I have. My former boss, who had hired a relative over my maternity leave, did everything he could to keep me from coming back to work after my leave. So I left the company and worked freelance. Then after they got themselves in a bit of a pickle they hired me back working part time for more than they could have had me full time originally.

But I still was pretty mommy-tracked so I now work for the competition. Jury's still out but I'm still hoping to beat the pants off my former company.

Prejudice costs. :-)

Posted by: shandra_lemarath | March 5, 2008 11:29 AM

I feel like this topic has been hashed out quite a bit on this forum. But here goes again...

Do I think that there is reverse discrimination at some work places? Sure, but you aren't losing your jobs b/c of it. And you aren't not getting promoted b/c of it. But many working moms are losing jobs/missing out on promotions and for no reason other than the fact that they are mothers.

But I also agree that if a working mom chooses to take the part-time route or leaves at 5 pm every day while her colleagues work until 9 pm, she can't expect to get promoted. That is the trade-off.

Posted by: londonmom | March 5, 2008 11:36 AM

But I also agree that if a working mom chooses to take the part-time route or leaves at 5 pm every day while her colleagues work until 9 pm, she can't expect to get promoted. That is the trade-off.


Posted by: londonmom | March 5, 2008 11:36 AM

Exactly!! I don't think parents should be "mommy tracked" just because they are parents. BUT, if you are not doing the same level of work as your peers, you should not be expected to be promoted at the same rate. That does not mean there's no room for advancement, but maybe it means it happens at a slower pace.

And I echo the words of the single posters. The same thing happened to me when I was single and childless, and I really resented it. There was one woman in particular who had constant child care issues, and I constantly had to fill in for her, as well as do my own job. She was paid much, much more than I was, despite the fact that I did a large portion of her job for her. I was incredibly resentful.

However, I did what my boss asked and was promoted quickly. She wasn't. So... I guess it all works out.

Posted by: sandiego_mama | March 5, 2008 11:54 AM

But I also agree that if a working mom chooses to take the part-time route or leaves at 5 pm every day while her colleagues work until 9 pm, she can't expect to get promoted. That is the trade-off.


Posted by: londonmom | March 5, 2008 11:36 AM

Exactly!! I don't think parents should be "mommy tracked" just because they are parents. BUT, if you are not doing the same level of work as your peers, you should not be expected to be promoted at the same rate. That does not mean there's no room for advancement, but maybe it means it happens at a slower pace.

And I echo the words of the single posters. The same thing happened to me when I was single and childless, and I really resented it. There was one woman in particular who had constant child care issues, and I constantly had to fill in for her, as well as do my own job. She was paid much, much more than I was, despite the fact that I did a large portion of her job for her. I was incredibly resentful.

However, I did what my boss asked and was promoted quickly. She wasn't. So... I guess it all works out.

Posted by: sandiego_mama | March 5, 2008 11:55 AM

londonmom: But why is that the trade-off? It's not like the working mom is prioritizing eating bonbons over working those additional 4 hours. Being a parent who needs to be home for their kids is a temporary condition, and working parents are putting forth the extra effort to remain in the work force despite having drastically increasesd responsibilities at home. In a sense, it's as if working parents have taken on another job, and are still doing what they can to make their first job viable. This is something that employers should VAULE--working parents are demonstrating loyalty, a willingness to work hard, highly developed organizational skills, etc. (this assumes that working parents are handling their out-of-home jobs well, of course). I don't understand why more employers don't look at working parents and say, "Oh, look, a subset of employees who are so dedicated that they rearrange their already-highly-challenging personal lives in order to contribute to my company. These are exactly the type of people I want running the show, particularly when the demands of their personal lives taper off and they can devote even more time to their jobs."

Posted by: jbs280 | March 5, 2008 11:56 AM

jbs280

"I don't understand why more employers don't look at working parents and say, "Oh, look, a subset of employees who are so dedicated that they rearrange their already-highly-challenging personal lives in order to contribute to my company. These are exactly the type of people I want running the show, particularly when the demands of their personal lives taper off and they can devote even more time to their jobs."

Are you kidding?

Posted by: chittybangbang | March 5, 2008 12:00 PM

But I also agree that if a working mom chooses to take the part-time route or leaves at 5 pm every day while her colleagues work until 9 pm, she can't expect to get promoted. That is the trade-off.


Posted by: londonmom | March 5, 2008 11:36 AM

Exactly!! I don't think parents should be "mommy tracked" just because they are parents. BUT, if you are not doing the same level of work as your peers, you should not be expected to be promoted at the same rate. That does not mean there's no room for advancement, but maybe it means it happens at a slower pace.

And I echo the words of the single posters. The same thing happened to me when I was single and childless, and I really resented it. There was one woman in particular who had constant child care issues, and I constantly had to fill in for her, as well as do my own job. She was paid much, much more than I was, despite the fact that I did a large portion of her job for her. I was incredibly resentful.

However, I did what my boss asked and was promoted quickly. She wasn't. So... I guess it all works out.

Posted by: sandiego_mama | March 5, 2008 12:00 PM

Oh, I'm so sorry I posted the same thing three times. I was having problems with my connection and I didn't think my post went through. Obviously it did! Sorry about that.

Posted by: sandiego_mama | March 5, 2008 12:03 PM

Nope, chitty, I'm not. I'm also not saying that employers should stop seeing value in the employees who put in the 16-hour days and the weekends. I'm just saying that employers are ignoring a potentially valuable resourse when they dismiss working parents as promotion material out of hand.

Posted by: jbs280 | March 5, 2008 12:04 PM

Why is it that employers make assumptions about what an employee can/can not or will/will not do because of their status as parent? It's just as bad as assuming the single childless person should stay late. Most things can be planned for provided there is an open environment for communication.

Side note: spoke to a 6 year male associate at a DC law firm on metro last night. Plans to take his full paternity leave and turn off his blackberry. If people don't make use of programs they wither away...

Posted by: tntkate | March 5, 2008 12:45 PM

the thing that drives me batty about this dialogue is that there are differences in the workplace, but some people have a hard time recognizing them and noting the greater good of having such a workforce. there are parents in the workforce; there are seniors in the workforce; there are new graduates in the workplace. and guess what: everyone has their own needs and issues.

i applaud employers who can see the value in a diverse workforce -- diverse in employee's places in life. i've worked for employers who let singletons out a little early because they were going to grad school. i've worked for employers who valued the contributions of seniors, even though computers were not exactly paramount in their skill sets. i've worked for employers who saw value in retaining people even though they became parents. and yes, maybe you won't be on the fast track toward a promotion when you have these additional concerns, but as long as your contributions still help the mission of the organization, that's fine.

so, upset you can't leave early because you want to see a ballgame, but your colleague is rushing home to pick up a child... do you really, really think the two are equivalent? you won't end up in jail or hospital if you are a little late for a ball game. late for picking up a child? hopefully, the caregiver is responsible enough not to abandon your kid. if chronic lateness at pickup becomes a problem and the parent loses the childcare, you may also lose the employee. recruiting new employees is a long and often expensive proposition. retaining them is much more cost-effective.

i think there are tradeoffs we make in order to have a richly diverse workforce. if you want to cut out all the people who have family obligations and who might have alleged slack cut for them, then get ready to work a lot longer hours -- by yourself.

Posted by: wrekehavoc | March 5, 2008 12:46 PM

Hey Everyone!

We had an enjoyable vaction and were able to catch up with my uncle and cousin whom I have not see for 3 years. The vacation was bracketed by visits to the oncologist. One before we left and the other about 10 hrs after we got back.

Chemo starts tomorrow and I have a bit of a tribute to all who have had chemo. I have not quite finished it yet but will post it later today.

Fred (and of course) Frieda

Posted by: fred | March 5, 2008 12:54 PM

Shout-out to Fred and Frieda! All good thoughts for you both.

Posted by: mehitabel | March 5, 2008 1:06 PM

Tired old subject. My experience matches Foamgnome's. I took 5 months off after my first child was born; 4 after my second. Reduced my work hours to 4 days/week at first; then down to 3. Nobody ever gave me any grief at work. I had to work hard to convince them that a 3-day-week would be a good thing for them AND me, but once that was done, everything was smooth.

I've been productive, and happy, at work. Never missed a deadline and, yes, sometimes put in additional hours at night from home to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Overall, it's been working well for both my employer and me. I'm scheduled for a promotion in a few months.

None of my friends who are mothers have ever mentioned any work-related problems that stem from their status as a parent. I don't see what the big deal is. Having kids is part of life - why would employers see that as a problem??

Posted by: Bracelet | March 5, 2008 1:16 PM

you know what? I'd love to hear some employers speak out on this. Maybe some 3rd level managers on up.

Posted by: dotted_1 | March 5, 2008 1:27 PM

dotted - I agree. This topic has been done here too many times recently to generate much interest among those managers, though. It's a victim-mentality topic - a topic for which voters in Ohio and Texas apparently are in the mood.

Posted by: mn.188 | March 5, 2008 1:34 PM

It seems to me that the commentators in the article are talking about two completely different things. If a company or manager assumes is making negative decisions based only on whether the employee is a parent, regardless of whether the work is affected, that's profiling and it's not valid in my mind.

If a parent is not available and is not working as much, then there is a legitimate reason to not advance them.

Posted by: LizaBean | March 5, 2008 1:40 PM

Lizabean. I think you're right. Some parents purposefully take jobs that are more flexible, or less demanding or generally more accommodating to their family responsibilities. If you take a job like that, fully expecting to work less hours or travel less or what have you, you are also accepting the trade-off of possibly advancing less quickly or making less money. For some people, this is a perfectly acceptable trade-off. It depends on the culture of the workplace as well. It is unrealistic for someone to think that they should advance as quickly or get paid as much as people who are more productive. But some parents can and do keep up, and it is unfair for some companies to pigeon hole them because of their status as parents.

I work for the government, and my experience has been very similar to Foamgnome's. I have been on maternity leave twice, and during the most recent one, due to my office's work needs, I actually began working from home a month after giving birth. Now I am back at work full time, and generally work a strict 8 hours at the office, but I also work from home some evenings if the workload is heavy. Luckily, a lot of what I do I can do from anywhere with a bb, laptop and an internet connection, so having a family does not make me inaccessible to work. In fact, I am probably more accessible than I want to be. But it works for me, because it lets me multitask and do a good job while still being available to my family. In this day and age, with the technology that we have, I see less and less of a conflict between working hard and being able to have dinner with your family.

Posted by: emily111 | March 5, 2008 1:51 PM

OT to mn,
I take you you are disappointed about the TX and OH primary results. Whatever the outcome, though, this sure has been an interesting process. I have to say that I am impressed by Clinton's tenacity. I don't see her as a victim at all.

Posted by: emily111 | March 5, 2008 1:54 PM

The one thing I resent in regards to maternal profiling is the implication that because an employee leaves at 5:30 every day, she's not pulling her weight. I may be the first to leave the office, but I'm on every night for 2 hours checking emails and getting more work done and my telecommuting day per week is by far my most productive. My projects have never missed a deadline and I have increased value to my company. My contributions stack up to any other employee's in my group. Quantity does not always equal quality. But I have felt the resentment from peers, as well as the impression I am "off" one day a week, even though my children are in daycare/school and I am in my home office all day.

I was turned down for a promotion once simply because I wasn't physically in the office every day. I thought that was ridiculous and quit for a competitor a few months later -- with the same arrangement and for more money to boot!

But I do agree that flexible arrangements should be available to everyone, not simply those with children. We could ALL benefit from a work/life balance.

Posted by: abubniak | March 5, 2008 2:01 PM

What the later-than-usual midmorning blog entry this morning Leslie? I hope everything is ok...what with the flu taking out everyone and all...

Posted by: dotted_1 | March 5, 2008 2:06 PM

Continuing OT: Emily, MN: in Canada there's significant debate about Obama's real intentions regarding NAFTA. Certainly the OH and PA folks blame it for a lot. Questions up here include: why are Stephen Harper's people meeting with Obama's folks; and what's the real intent?

OT from last week to mehitabel: Henri Richard could lace on his skates today and still be the best center Les Habs could put on the ice. But at least we're in front of the Make-Believes, eh? :-)

On topic, for once: Yes, I have twice seen women discriminated against for wanting to take the "mommy track". In both cases, the boss was a childless woman who resented somebody having it easier than her.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | March 5, 2008 2:27 PM

OMG, that idiot Charlotte Allen is "defending" herself live. I'm stunned into silence. She's a moron.

Posted by: atb2 | March 5, 2008 2:34 PM

I really like what London and JB had to say and am fairly in agreement with them.

It would be great and definitely something to work towards to have companies realize that just the bottom line isn't what the world needs, and isn't what any human needs. To enrich life, to have balance, to have stability- remembering the human and happiness and loyalty part of work is good.

But that's certainly not how we can expect it to work here and now across the board. As Liza said, is a person happens to have kids and is being kept behind- that's a problem. But how many people have kids and can honestly say it doesn't change how they prioritize and deal with work? So why wouldn't income and raises reflect that?

And yes Wreke- I do think in terms of work performance, it is the same. You choose to be a parent, thus you choose to make other things priority over work in life, thus you choose the consequences of having less rewards at work for the greater rewards you say you will have from having children.

If a worker chooses to go to a game, they choose that as priority and accept the consequences.

The problem being, many non parents aren't given the option to enjoy the things they choose at all while a parent is given the freedom to attend to the other priorities they chose.

Posted by: EmeraldEAD | March 5, 2008 2:37 PM

I figure this will get cut once it's archived, so I'll put it here:

"Anywhere: Hey, Charlotte. Nice tits. Sincerely, a guy.

Charlotte Allen: Hey, Washington Post forum moderators: I thought obscene comments were supposed to be filtered out of this forum? How did this one get in?"

Posted by: atb2 | March 5, 2008 2:38 PM

atb2--
You were right; they cut your comment. Too bad. I thought it was clever.

Posted by: oldbam | March 5, 2008 3:52 PM

Off-topic to emily:

I don't see her as a victim at all.

Posted by: emily111 | March 5, 2008 01:54 PM

I didn't either until this campaign. I cannot hear one more minute, however, of how feminists don't understand what's at stake (we do and we don't think you're the right candidate), how unfair it is that she is asked the first question in a debate, how unfairly the media have treated her, how we shouldn't notice her deliberate use of cleavage or tears at times when her campaign needed to send a message of her femininity. I agree with her on almost every issue and wouldn't vote for a whiner if you paid me - particularly after this weekend's insults against feminists supporting other candidates. Since you asked:>)

Is all going well with your daughter? You sound at peace recently. It is a good sound. I wish you all the best.

Posted by: mn.188 | March 5, 2008 4:18 PM

"But many working moms are losing jobs/missing out on promotions and for no reason other than the fact that they are mothers. "

I've had the opposite experience. I was laid off from one company where the criteria for the layoff was to axe the 2 highest-paid non-management employees from each department. I wasn't actually the 2nd-highest-paid, but the woman who WAS happened to be on maternity leave when the layoff happened and management was afraid she would sue if they laid her off, so they axed me instead.

And to whoever asked whether I think a ball game is equivalent to picking up your kids from day care - yup, I sure do. Who says that *your* kids are more important than *my* life? I spent $50 for that ticket and I came in early/got my work done/skipped lunch so I could go to the game and see the first pitch. We all get to have our own priorities, and to each of us they are absolutely just as important as someone else's are to them. Being a parent doesn't make anyone's out-of-work commitments any more or less important than anyone else's...what an incredibly self-important perspective that is.

Posted by: dcgirl1899 | March 5, 2008 5:20 PM

Well, actually, I do not feel it has been detrimental to have kids. It took me all of 3 weeks to find a job after my second was born and I started looking (when he was 5 months - I thought it would take 6 mos to find a job! at least!). Now I'm on my second job since I went back, just asked to go part time, and there's a huge possibility this will work out (I would leave if it didn't). With no. 1 pregnancy, I had about 3 or 4 different bosses during the 8 mos of it (told at 3 or so mos) and we were about to have layoffs (which i got) so no one was so concerned about my taking time off (never mattered anyway as I got a package).

As for Hillary - I will say this - as I have said to people in the past. It's like a baseball/football/bball game. People complain all the time about 'oh, the refs were out to get my team' well, my answer is that if you played well enough, all that stuff wouldn't matter. You have to be better than the refs, you have to be better than any discrimination (real or imagined) to win the 'game.' That's just the way it is. Nothing's fair in the world, and that's just the way it is. If you have to work harder than someone else to get the same job, well, then, so be it. If you don't like it - get more education, a better job, start your own company and make your own rules. Complaining doesn't help, does it? It doesn't make the game fair, it doesn't change the rules and it doesn't help you win.

Just my two cents.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 5, 2008 5:49 PM

OT to mn,
I find your comments on Hillary very interesting. Perhaps I was not following her campaign closely enough, but I missed the comments about how feminists don't understand what's at stake. But I did see the debate and did hear her complain about always being asked the first question, and about how the media is treating her unfairly. And I do have to agree with that. I was watching Hardball and the other MSNBC shows the night of the Ohio and Texas primaries, and got the sense that Chris Matthews was really out to get her, over ridiculous stuff, like her statement that Obama was not a Muslim as far as she knew. And they all couldn't wait to declare her campaign dead, and to speculate about when she would drop out, and to talk about the damage she was doing to the party by persevering. Another thing I noticed was that as they talked on Hardball, in the background, there was a very nice picture of the very handsome Senator Obama in the background, looking very charismatic and presidential, but no similar background shot of Hillary.

I have just found the media to be on the offense toward Hillary, and very protective of Obama, up to just a couple of days ago. And I can't help but wonder if this is because people are put off by the idea that a woman might be president. I think a lot of men find that idea still to be a very uncomfortable one for them. And I think that sexism is alive and well, but that it less obvious because much of our culture accepts without quuestion that women should be seen and not heard, that they should be nice, that they should not go on the offense, and that when they do, they are less feminine. So Hillary can't win in the eyes of some, because any sincere sign of emotion is seen as a manipulation to evoke sympathy, and any display of toughness is seen as unbecoming to a woman. And of course, this bothers me, because I don't see her rival getting anywhere the same kind of treatment. And of course, as soon as he started getting some scrutiny, he complained also, saying that he was disappointed that the media bit the bait of her complaints of unfair treatment and turned the scrutiny over to him. But when she complained, he basically said she was whining. I can't help but see a kind of ingrained sexism in that, because of course, women are taught to suck it up and not complain, and men are taught to voice their opinions and be heard.

But whatever the outcome, I have found this race to be fascinating, and am still entralled, not just by the politics, but by the psychology of it all.

Posted by: emily111 | March 6, 2008 10:21 AM

This subject is very near and dear to my heart as I have been trying for the last 13 1/2 years to amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to forbid employers from asking job candidates about their marital and child bearing status during job interviews. I am not telling employers who they should and should not hire (that is obvious) I am just asking that these invasive questions during job interviews stop. NO, despite popular opinion to the contrary, Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on marital status. Age, sex, race, color and national origin - covered - marital and familial status not covered. The biggest arguement I have faced is mothers take too much time off from work to take sick children to the doctor. Mothers are unreliable hiring risks. After almost a decade of hearing the horrible names given to describe working mothers, it is almost as if society should label motherhood a disease because of the horrible side effects of this condition especially workplace unreliability being key among them all and the affect on business profits. Upon reflection, I probably should not be trying to change the Human Relations Act to protect women of childbearing age, perhaps lowering the driving age so children could drive themselves to the doctor when sick so mom won't lose time from work would be more attainable. If motherhood is such a horrible thing, why don't we ask ALL women in the United State to boycott birth. Pick a year - ok - lets pick 2009. Everyone - stop getting pregnant or giving birth in 2009. Do you think business will take notice? Once the hospitals shut down their wings, diaper and toy businesses shutting down, pharmaceutical companies would be making vaccines for no one....and so it goes. So if mothers are so bad for business, what will business do without mothers?

Posted by: kpeppard | March 7, 2008 9:25 AM

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