WOMEN

HuffPost Her Stories: When Single, Childfree Women Lose Out At Work

Plus: Reclaiming the word "lesbian."
Some managers and co-workers assume that single people don't have a life and don't deserve a pay raise.
Some managers and co-workers assume that single people don't have a life and don't deserve a pay raise.

Hi, readers!

I am shocked by the brazenness of the comments some bosses make to single, childfree female employees, and I am glad to see HuffPost U.S. reporter Monica Torres tackle the topic in this piece about workplace treatment.

I’ve never overtly been told by a manager that I wasn’t getting a raise because I wasn’t married or didn’t have children, or that someone else was getting a bump in pay because they did have those things. However, I’ve worked in offices where it seems women have received promotions just as they’re getting married or starting families, and I’ve often wondered if they’re suddenly being seen as more “adult.”

I’ve been married for three years (no kids here yet), and I can’t say I’ve received special treatment over my marital status or been punished for my lack of children, but the stories of other women indicate this can be a major issue in some companies.

For example, Kathy Hamann told Monica that when she asked her managers why she hadn’t received the same two pay raises as her sister who had the same job, she was told, “Well, she has kids to support, and you don’t.” The bluntness of that response astounds me.

Monica says she was once told by a boss that she and her co-workers wouldn’t get raises or paid time off because they didn’t have children to support, which inspired her to write this piece. It took her years to realize how inappropriate her boss’ comments were, “which speaks to how normalized this issue can be,” she noted.

She heard from employees across many professions — including teachers, clinical pharmacists and art gallery workers — who had similar experiences.

If this article strikes a chord with you, check out Monica’s pieces on the “motherhood penalty” and the double standard of the “tough boss” label, as well as Rebecca Traister’s book she references, “All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation.”

Do you think single, childfree women in your workplace are treated differently? Have you experienced this yourself? Please share your stories with me.

And I’m so grateful to everyone who reached out to talk about last week’s topic of unwanted attention. Hearing about bus incidents, Uber drivers, construction workers and more, it was clear that many of you have had similar experiences, and I especially loved hearing from those who are using these moments to teach your children how to stand up for themselves.

Until next week,

Follow Monica Torres (@MoniFierce) for more stories about U.S. work culture, and follow HuffPost Life (@HuffPostLife) for guidance through the challenges of the modern world. Also follow HuffPost U.S. on LinkedIn, where Monica will soon be hosting watercooler chats.

Fanchon Mayaudon-Nehlig shined a light on how Google’s algorithm selected search results about “lesbiennes.&rdquo
Fanchon Mayaudon-Nehlig shined a light on how Google’s algorithm selected search results about “lesbiennes.”

French communications consultant Fanchon Mayaudon-Nehlig saw that her wife, Louise, was uncomfortable using the word “lesbienne” (French for “lesbian”) in public, and she decided to do something about it. As part of a movement to make the word less sexualized, she created the SEO Lesbienne campaign, which focused on changing Google’s algorithm so searches for the word would no longer highlight pornographic content. And she succeeded, with Google announcing earlier this month that it had fixed the algorithm to provide more representative results. “The word ‘lesbienne’ does not belong to the porn industry,” Fanchon told HuffPost Brazil. “It belongs to us, and we are glad that Google gave us the opportunity to own it.”

The National Health Service recommends local clinics provide in vitro fertilization services free of charge, but some clinics
The National Health Service recommends local clinics provide in vitro fertilization services free of charge, but some clinics have cut the free treatments.

Some National Health Service fertility clinics in the U.K. have canceled free in vitro fertilization services, leaving women in those areas to pay for private treatment, move to another jurisdiction or forgo having children. “Knowing that time is ticking away and worrying you won’t ever be a mum, won’t ever feel your child kicking won’t ever hold your newborn baby in your arms is awful,” Natalie Church, 31, told HuffPost U.K. The NHS recommends that local clinics provide IVF free of charge, but five clinics have cut the free treatments in recent years, citing financial pressure. “I can’t believe that they have decided this is the best way to save money. I hope not just for me, but for everyone, that they come to their senses and rethink their decision,” Natalie said.

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