The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Young v. United Parcel Service. The outcome will affect many American women’s ability to financially support their families and even have children.
Pregnancy discrimination, while widely illegal, happens when some employers illegally terminate their female workers. They are not explicitly fired for being pregnant, but instead branded “bad workers” by managers. The organizations then use run-of-the-mill meritocratic policies to fire the women.
Reginald A. Byron and Vincent J. Roscigno. 2014. “Relational Power, Legitimation, and Pregnancy Discrimination,” Gender & Society 28(3):435–62.
Pregnancy is a particularly vulnerable time for women; it holds health, legal, and employment risks. A systematic examination of arrests of and forced interventions in the lives of pregnant women in the U.S. shows a variety of concerns about their health, dignity, and autonomy.
Lynn M. Paltrow and Jeanne Flavin. 2013. “Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973–2005: Implications for Women’s Legal Status and Public Health,” Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law.
A variety of laws and their sometimes-selective enforcement affect women’s ability to be healthy and valued members of society.
Jeanne Flavin. 2009. Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women’s Reproduction in America. New York: NYU Press.
Beyond pregnancy discrimination, mothers are paid less than childless women. A portion of this motherhood wage penalty is due to discrimination.
Stephen Benard and Shelley J. Correll. 2010. “Normative Discrimination and the Motherhood Penalty,” Gender & Society 24(5):616–46.