Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Challenges of career advancement during and after pregnancy

On Behalf of | May 1, 2024 | Pregnancy Discrimination

Pregnant women often face significant challenges and biases in the workplace, particularly when it comes to career advancement. These issues can affect both their current jobs and their long-term career paths.

Knowing what these challenges are is the first step toward addressing and overcoming them.

Understanding workplace challenges

When women are pregnant, some employers and coworkers might think they are less committed to their jobs. This wrong idea comes from outdated views that family responsibilities can interfere with work. Because of this, pregnant workers might not get chosen for promotions or important projects, even if they are doing well and working hard.

Also, being out on maternity leave can make women less visible at work. While they are away, they might miss out on opportunities because others continue to make decisions about who gets promoted or who gets to lead projects.

Fighting biases and supporting fairness

To fight these biases, companies should enforce policies that support pregnant workers and new mothers. They need to make sure they treat these employees fairly in performance reviews, focusing on their work quality and results, not how often they are in the office. Training programs can also help managers and coworkers recognize and reduce unconscious biases about pregnancy and maternity.

Setting up mentorship programs is another good step. These programs can connect pregnant employees and new mothers with leaders in the company. Mentors can help them stay visible at work and guide them on how to keep moving up in their careers during and after pregnancy.

There are laws in place to help reduce discrimination against pregnant employees.

Building a supportive work environment

Companies should create a work environment that helps everyone. Offering flexible work options, like working from home or having flexible hours, can help pregnant employees and new mothers manage their health and family needs without giving up their career goals.

It’s also important to have a work culture that values all kinds of families. By openly talking about the challenges of balancing work and family, companies can develop better strategies that help everyone, not just those who are pregnant or new parents.

Helping pregnant women advance in their careers requires everyone’s collaboration. Companies can take steps to ensure that having a baby does not prevent women from advancing.