Pregnancy Put-Downs

The challenges of pregnancy


As if pregnancy weren't challenging enough. Researchers recently found that obviously pregnant women who applied for jobs—an act the scientists described as "masculine"—were significantly more likely than nonpregnant women to be met with hostility and rudeness. In contrast, moms-to-be who went shopping, an act the researchers labeled "feminine," were met with patronizing forms of discrimination that included being called "honey" or "sweetie" and having their personal space disregarded.

"Complete strangers think it perfectly acceptable to ask personal questions of, or even try to touch, pregnant women," says study co-author Eden King, Ph.D., assistant professor of industrial and occupational psychology at George Mason University in Virginia. Although King believes battling such discrimination shouldn't be the burden of pregnant women, she suggests protecting yourself by "emphasizing aspects of your knowledge and skills related to your competence and distancing yourself from accepted gender stereotypes."