Oh, to be a Millennial. We’re the generation who was coddled and loved too much. Driven from soccer practice to piano lessons, praised for each pirouette and finger painting. Well, now we’re all grown up and are trying to make a life for ourselves in the work place and are very used to a loving atmosphere where people tell us that if we want to make it all happen- it will. The female half of this generation grew up with the Spice Girls and Oprah, with mothers who encouraged us to spread our little butterfly wings as far as they would take us- and so we have. With all of the 90’s girl power on our side, we’ve managed to almost totally close the gap in wages, (according to Pew, 93% to what Millennial men earn), but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to whine about what we don’t get (in true Millennial form)*. The same study shows that 75% of Millennial woman, in comparison to 57% of Millennial men feel that the country needs to try harder to make the workplace more equal, (but let’s give props to those 57% of men, eh?)
One issue plaguing Millennial women is motherhood – not that they won’t be good mothers, or able to have children, but to be a full time mother, and full time employee. And since we were raised to believe that we deserve to have it all… we want it all! Luckily, we live in a world where an employer can no longer ask if we are, or plan to become pregnant, but according to this article by The Daily Beast, it may be hurting, not helping us. The article goes on to give the example that if a 31 year old, newly married Millennial male applies for a job, it wouldn’t even cross the employer’s mind that he might have to leave his post for family life. Take the same circumstances but with a female interviewee, and as the article states, she may get turned down on the invisible discrimination that maybe she will get pregnant… someday. They argue that the female applicant should have the opportunity to explain herself – maybe she will never want children, or maybe it is years away for her. They say that since the employer is not asking and just assuming, she will never get a chance to share her side of the story.
We disagree. What is to stop this interviewee to giving her employer information about her family planning, by simply stating that she is years away from starting a family if she feels that the information is neccessary? It’s not that these old laws are hurting women in the workplace, as is suggested, it’s just that they aren’t progressing as fast as the women they are trying to protect are.
The workers shouldn’t worry about the possibility of the employer getting a bad reputation, as Tracey Kennedy says could happen. If the employer asks about family planning and if the female interviewing says that she is currently or is looking to get pregnant, and then if she is deemed unqualified for the position for reasons unrelated to her future child, according to Kennedy it will look bad on the employer. And if it is, so be it. It is too hypothetical to be a concern of the public.
Really, to make the workplace equal, it should be under the assumption that the man would also take some part in the family life and should be asked as well. Then at least the employer could say that they were being fair and asking all parties and don’t discriminate against gender, just against babies.
Has an employer ever questioned your family planning? Have you felt that family planning has prevented you from getting a job or promotion? Let us know, we’d love to talk to you about it.
*I am the quintessential Millennial, so don’t worry, I know what I am talking about.