Pregnancy Discrimination

Even though we live in a very modern western country, discrimination still occurs. Even with people who did not have an immigration background. I have experience it twice and would like to draw more attention towards this problem. 

Pregnancy discrimination at work

Towards the end of my studies, I did an internship in a big company. They were happy with the work I did and I could stay after the internship. I had nice colleagues and I liked the work I did. After a year of working in this department, I could stay for two more years. All is good you would think. Towards the end of this two-year contract, the manager made an appointment with me to talk about my work. I went to appointment hopefully as the previous year I was offered a permanent contract but my employer somehow forgot that I had a two-year contract (yes, this is a little weird). I thought this was strange but thought ‘ok, people can make mistakes’. 

During the appointment with my manager, he told me that they would not extend my contract. I did not see this coming. Ok, working with my supervisor did not go that well lately but there were a lot of changes going on in the team and I hoped things would get better afterward. During this conversation, my manager also told me that more things would change soon. More people would leave the team and that they would not hire any more young women…… WTF.  I was at loss for words. Because of both by this statement and the news I just got that I did not have a proper response.

Pregnancy discrimination at work


How is this not discrimination based on gender….? A large part of the women worldwide wants children at some point. Mostly between the age of 25 and 35. Asking about if they want children is not allowed (men somehow never get asked this question) so these women are simply not hired (or even invited for an interview). Kids are the future but preferably not with the women in my company is what most managers must think. We can’t afford to ‘lose’ these women a couple weeks. I think this is very disappointing as, at least in the Netherlands, everything is very well arranged for women who are about to have a baby. Their salary is refunded by the government when the women are on maternity leave (in the Netherlands we get paid during maternity leave) so it does not cost the employer anything. He can look for a substitute for this time. The time and knowledge invested in the employee will not be lost as she will return to work after her maternity leave. Maybe a few hours less per week but this also counts for her partner (at least in my household).

Men also would like to (and should!) spend time with their children. In the Netherlands this is getting more common and should be something employers should realize. Somehow I think men will get their contracts extended when their partner is pregnant. It is sad to see how big the difference between man and women still is in the workplace.


Here you can read how pregnancy discriminationhappened to me again.