Pregnancy discrimination: I don't even want babies

No children (or cats) in sight, and guess what - I'm perfectly happy.

No children (or cats) in sight, and guess what - I'm perfectly happy.

Four years ago I was asked about my parenting plans in a job interview: “Are you going to have children soon? Because we don’t want to hire you and then have you leave shortly after.”

I was 29 at the time and although I have received more than my fair share of sexism in the workplace, this question caught me completely off guard.

I spluttered my way through the answer, saying something along the lines of, “No, not in the near future.” Ultimately, I managed to secure the job, but the comment has always stuck with me.

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* Shamed for being pregnant
Asking Jacinda Ardern about baby plans is sexist
No, we don't need to know about her baby plans
If I can do it, so can Jacinda

This year I was in the position of applying for jobs again. Despite the fact that I was never asked outright if I was planning to fall pregnant, I do think there were times I was unsuccessful due to pregnancy discrimination.

I'm not even pregnant, but because I'm married, in my mid-30s and by all accounts financially stable, people assume the next step in my life is babies.

One night I was discussing my predicament with a friend. She piped up and told me she now openly tells interviewers that she is not able to have children, and as a result her success rate in securing employment has soared.

Is this effective? It seems so. Is it right? Absolutely not. Is it any of their business? No.

The reality is we have a workforce structure built for men by men. Women have joined in droves in the past few decades, but workforce dynamics have changed very little.

The draconian mindset of women staying at home to raise children remains firmly embedded in the New Zealand mentality, and anyone who does not conform is questioned, labelled as barren, or treated as a middle-aged, cat-loving spinster.

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Being a woman in the workforce is hard yakka. It’s not just pregnancy discrimination we deal with, but sexism across the board - if there was no word limit for contributions on here, the stories I could tell would blow you away.

I have no doubt Jacinda Ardern will endure more ridiculous misogynistic comments throughout the course of her career. But although I may not agree with all of her policies, I completely support her right to take the stage and live her life as she sees fit.

Quite frankly, I am going to enjoy seeing her "slay" her male counterparts with their 1950s attitudes.

Back to my personal story... Well, for the record I have precisely zero interest in having children and am quite happy growing old by myself.

Believe it or not, the most shocking truth of all is that I do not own any cats.

 - Stuff Nation


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