The first is a blog by an employment law specialist lamenting two cases of women being fired for being pregnant. In both cases the employers tried to disguise the real reasons for the dismissal. It is sad that after decades of fighting for employment protection for pregnant workers this sort of shit is still going on. What is interesting is that Employment Relations Authority allowed one woman to apply for lost maternity pay while the other was denied. An inconsistent loophole that needs be closed.
The other story that bothered me recently was the reaction to Barack Obama's appointment of Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security (sheesh talk about an Orwellian title) where the chairman of the National Governors Association Ed Rendell was caught on an open mike saying:
"Janet's perfect for that job. Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19-20 hours a day to it."
CNN's lovely Campbell Brown takes the Democratic Governor to task over these matters with a wonderful three-pronged attack:
1. If a man had been Obama's choice for the job, would having a family or not having a family ever even have been an issue? Would it have ever prompted a comment? Probably not. We all know the assumption tends to be that with a man, there is almost always a wife in the wings managing those family concerns.
2. As a woman, hearing this, it is hard not to wonder if we are counted out for certain jobs, certain opportunities, because we do have a family or because we are in our child-bearing years. Are we? It is a fair question.
3. If you are a childless, single woman with suspicions that you get stuck working holidays, weekends and the more burdensome shifts more often than your colleagues with families, are those suspicions well-founded? Probably so. Is there an assumption that if you're family-free then you have no life? By some, yes.