Why This Woman Started a Website to Support Pregnant Bosses
Seventeen editor-in-chief Michelle Tan was recently fired while on maternity leave, an event that reignited a conversation about the backlash women still receive for being working moms. While the details of this particular case were unclear, we do know that the U.S. saw more than 5,000 pregnancy discrimination cases in 2013 and that we're one of only three countries in the world that do not require employers to guarantee any paid leave.
Michelle Meyer, CEO and founder of Emissaries, thought we needed to hear a new story about work success and pregnancy — one that shows the two can not only coexist but also thrive off each other. That's why she created the website Pregnant Bosses, which is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of profiles of women who are, as Beyoncé put it, "strong enough to bear the children then get back to business."
We asked her about her website and what changes need to happen for moms to be better supported in the workplace.
What led you to start Pregnant Bosses?
Through my business Emissaries, which sources seasoned freelancers for parental leave covers, I connect with many pregnant women, and I’ve been so inspired by their personal stories. Also, I myself am six months pregnant, and I've found that pregnancy has pushed me to expedite my professional goals. I've been so focused, excited, and energized. Pregnancy has not been a disadvantage for me professionally; it has been incredibly positive because I can better relate to the families and teams I'm helping, and because when else do you plan your professional and personal six- to 12-month goals in this much detail? I have pregnancy to thank.
What are the biggest issues you've seen pregnant women dealing with in the workplace?
Some feel more professionally motivated and supported than ever before, thanks to improving parental leave policies and evolving corporate cultures. Others face unjust challenges of additional gender discrimination. Various global surveys report that 30 percent to 77 percent of pregnant women and new mothers experience discrimination at work (statistics vary by country). There's a misconception that pregnant women aren't as committed to their careers as their peers, and that's the myth we're trying to dispel by celebrating expecting and new moms who are dedicated to and enthusiastic about the future of their companies and careers.
Do you have any other plans for the site?
We welcome new submissions on our site and look forward to profiling pregnant, professional women from around the world. The response has been incredible, and I can see this becoming a global social movement.
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