Can pregnancy ruin your career?

03.06.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

A new study shows that pregnant women feel that they are not welcome at work.

Researchers from the University of Florida found that after the employer and colleagues learn about her condition, a pregnant employee feels that she is being forced out as a professional. Often pregnant women lose opportunities for career growth, and they start to feel that they are superfluous or “undesirable” to the management. Having worked before childbirth and having completed maternity leave, many women prefer not to return to their former jobs. In the United States, expectant mothers often quit their jobs before the official maternity leave has finished.

  • According to the latest data, in Russia, the wages of women without children are on average 9.7% higher than those of working mothers.
  • In the U.S., working mothers are paid 71 cents for every dollar that male fathers receive for similar work.
  • In Europe, the share of fathers who enjoy the right to parental leave is 10.1%, and in Russia, only 2% of fathers go on paternity leave.

The results of the study suggest that pregnant women leave their jobs because of a psychologically uncomfortable environment and discomfort at work.

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Despite the lack of support, the work motivation of expectant mothers does not decrease at all, and in a healthy atmosphere, they are ready to work as intensively as before. This suggests that the reasons for leaving the job during pregnancy are more a consequence of psychological discomfort than concern for health or a desire to switch to motherhood.

It is noteworthy that, in the case of men, everything happens the other way around. Future fathers often get career advantages, salary increases, bonuses and extraordinary vacations. Recently, there have even emerged pertinent expressions such as “penalty for maternity” and “bonus for paternity”.

The solution to the problem may be a combination of a change in the attitude towards pregnant employees on the part of the employer, better social support for expectant mothers and aid for them to achieve career goals without prejudice to family values.