In 1971, Warren was finishing her first year of teaching. She was 22 and “visibly pregnant.”
“By June…the principal told me the job I’d already been promised for the next year would go to someone else,” Warren said.
While pregnancy discrimination isn’t always so “in-your-face” in present day, it still happens with worrying frequency. “This was 1971, years before Congress outlawed pregnancy discrimination—but we know it still happens in subtle and not-so-subtle ways,” Warren said.
Many women responded to Warren’s thread citing their own negative experiences of being pregnant in the workplace. One said that when she was seven months pregnant and working at a tech company, her boss yelled at her for “‘putting [him] in a real bind by going on maternity leave.’ He then demanded I return after six weeks and immediately start working 60-hour work weeks.”
Several others joined in to say they’d seen male coworkers receive the opposite treatment. There was a stronger chance that men with families would get hired, and earn higher salaries than their female counterparts, because the men are “breadwinners,” according to one woman’s company. Another woman replied, “Never mind that I had three children to support. Like I was working for the fun of it,” after sharing that her male boss expressed similar sentiments.
Warren’s campaign policy focuses heavily on improving the lives of all parents. She wants to make childcare free and more accessible to working parents, because she remembers the struggles of raising two children on her own while balancing a teaching job. Warren is also an advocate for LGBT parents, who are twice as likely to be living at or near the poverty line compared to straight parents.
She also plans to tackle the “maternity mortality epidemic.” According to the CDC, about 700 women die every year during delivery or due to pregnancy complications. The same source shows that black women are three to four times more likely to die due to birth or pregnancy complications than white women.
This isn’t the first time that Warren has spoken openly about the battles she fought as a young working mother. “Without childcare, I was a goner,” she said at the National Women’s Law Center’s 45th anniversary gala in 2017. She’s well-versed in how impossible many companies make it for mothers in the U.S to have healthy, happy lives outside of work.
Warren wants other working moms to feel empowered and speak up. She Tweeted, “We can fight back by telling our stories. I tell mine on the campaign trail, and I hope to hear yours.”