Pregnant women victims of microaggressions in the workplace
Half of women questioned in a survey said that taking maternity leave had hurt their careers, new research says.
Many pregnant women had endured negative comments from colleagues about them needing to take time off work or having a "preggy brain," the British Academy of Management online annual conference heard today [Wednesday 1 September].
Dr. Yehia Nawar, of London South Bank University, carried out an online survey of 104 women, who were mostly graduates and included senior managers.
"All women that gave feedback about maternity said that since they become pregnant, men in their companies had treated them differently," Dr. Nawar told the conference.
"The most common microaggressions were discriminatory comments about the women having a 'preggy brain' when doing their work, or comments about their pregnancy, but there are also negative assumptions made about taking additional time off work upon return and being less available to attend meetings or conferences.
"A large number of women had experienced a more difficult situation at the workplace because of their pregnancy, such as missing promotions and no further pay-rise or bonus.
"This study revealed that glass ceiling still occurs in the UK and that women find difficult to reach top managerial positions due to microaggressions, discriminations, harassments, inequalities, stereotypes, prejudice, organizational culture and maternity."
They survey also asked the women if had felt any type of barrier or glass ceiling at their workplace and almost half said there was, while a quarter said denied it. A third of respondents said this had affected their career.
Over a third said their self-esteem had suffered as a result of discrimination, including disrespectful comments as being thought of as the "coffee lady," being mistaken for a personal assistant, being called "dramatic" when pointing out a problem. Some said men received larger bonuses for doing the same job.
"More specifically, microaggressions, discriminations, harassments, inequalities, stereotypes, prejudice, organizational culture and maternity are destroying the women's career prospects."
Provided by British Academy of Management