How Employers Discriminate by Marital Status

As if women weren’t discriminated enough. One of the most common factors of discrimination is via marital status. Men reading this blog might think, that’s just a bunch of bull. It’s not:

Only 22 states and Puerto Rico specifically prohibit employers from inquiring about applicants’ marital status. That means “maternal profiling” is a real problem for many women.

Just ask Kiki Peppard. […] But Pennsylvania is one of those many states that says nothing against the practice, which in the absence of a federal prohibition, makes it perfectly OK. In fact, those were usually among the first questions asked, she said, and many hiring managers ended the encounter soon after she honestly answered them.

“You have to understand how humiliating it was to be denied employment because I was a mother, and how humbling it was to not know where your next meal is coming from, and that as a woman in this country, you really are treated as worthless,” she said.

As you might imagine, the mainstream media barely covers any related developments, if at all:

For 12 years Peppard, a single mother, has campaigned to get Pennsylvania to make it illegal for employers to ask about an applicant’s marital or familial status. Last week, on Nov. 30, the bill died its most recent death when committee chairmen refused to allow it to move to the floor of the state House and Senate for a vote.

This bill has not only failed with legislators, it’s also been pretty much of a non-starter with the press. Peppard says–and my own Web searches confirm–there was no coverage of the bill’s most recent failure. […] She spent six years trying to get Pennsylvania legislators to sponsor a bill against maternal profiling in interviews and the next six trying to get the bill passed into law.

She says she has been contacting reporters from the very beginning, but after all that time she can count the news sightings on just about two hands and most of that is coming from the alternative or independent press.

One break came her way when MomsRising.org made her story a centerpiece of their cause to improve U.S. motherhood conditions. Peppard is heavily featured in the activist group’s 2006 documentary “The Motherhood Manifesto,” based on the book of the same name by MomsRising co-founders Joan Blades and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, who also published a Mother’s Day piece about Peppard this year in the Nation. MomsRising blogger Cooper Munroe also got an op-ed about Peppard published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sept. 27.

How typical. By the way, visit the MomsRising website when you have a chance.

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