— David Korten, “America’s Deficit Attention Disorder.”
It’s always a little heart-wrenching when an expectant mother loses her job. Being in the “pregnant and fired” position myself, I can attest that my news has elicited a lot of handwringing from family and friends. (Okay, so “fired” is an exaggeration. I’m just laid off, along with all my Utne Reader colleagues as we watch our beloved magazine close down its Minneapolis office and move south to company headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, come March.) Fortunately, it’s nothing personal. Bad economy, decreased profits, budget cuts, the usual. The Utne president didn’t fire me for requesting maternity leave (as happened to a Canadian army reservist), for having a growing baby bump (as happened to a server at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club), or for using artificial insemination (as happened to an employee at Holy Family and St. Lawrence Catholic schools in Cincinnati). Nor did he badger me to get an abortion (as happened to a worker at Cookie’s Deli in New York). These are real-world examples of ways in which expectant mothers are mistreated in the workplace, even though the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 makes it illegal to fire a woman for being pregnant. These are all also real-world examples of women fighting back—suing their employers and bringing the cases to the media.
— Lewis Lapham on the servant problem and American jobs. Read more.
— America, it’s time to get paid.