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Pregnant Women Can Tackle Stereotypes to Avoid Discrimination

Posted on in Employment

A new study focused on how pregnant women can educate themselves about the various stereotypes potential employers have while hiring them, and then use that knowledge to combat discrimination right at the time of the hiring process.

The study was funded by Rice University, and is one of the first attempts to really understand how pregnant women can reduce the amount of workplace discrimination that they are faced with while they look for jobs. There are many negative pregnancy stereotypes out there, and some of the most common ones are that pregnant women suffer from a lack of commitment to the job, are likely to be inflexible after the arrival of the baby,may need much greater accommodations not just during the pregnancy, but also after the arrival of the baby, and worst of all, that they are incompetent compared to non-pregnant applicants.

That is a long list of very severe and hostile negative stereotypes, but according to the study, when women are trained to recognize that such stereotypes exist, and are trained to combat those stereotypes in a positive way, they have a much greater chance of being hired. The researchers experimented using a number of pregnant women, who applied for jobs at retailers. They found that women who were pregnant and managed to address stereotypes at the time of inquiring about their jobs, were approximately three times less likely to experience discrimination, than women who did nothing to combat those stereotypes. Some of the most devastating stereotypes, the researchers found, were the lack of flexibility and a lack of commitment to the job. When women were able to dispel those negative stereotypes right at the beginning, they were less likely to be discriminated against.

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