Are we living in 2012 or 1950? I pondered that thought a lot while reading some of the stories in this week’s roundup. Today we have some stories on a pregnancy-based firing in Texas, a Wisconsin legislator’s explanation of the wage gap, and more.
First up, in ridiculous news: a teacher in the Dallas, TX was fired for her out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
Welcome back to 1950!
Cathy Samford – a science teacher and the volleyball coach at Heritage Christian Academy – was fired last fall after disclosing her pregnancy to the Christian school she worked for. She and her fiancé, her baby’s father, had been planning on getting married later this year.
School headmaster Dr. Ron Taylor defends firing Samford, explaining the Heritage Christian Academy “expects their teachers to be ministers as well as educators,” and went on to add that “It’s not that she’s pregnant. The issue here is being an unmarried mother.”
Personally I find that last statement a bit odd, seeing as Samford has two children from a previous marriage. Doesn’t having two other children from a previous marriage already make Samford an unmarried mother? Guess it was okay that she had those two other kids, seeing as they were – I assume – conceived and born within wedlock.
The school continues to argue that the firing is not an issue since they are not a public school. But Samford and her lawyer, Colin Walsh, are perusing charges of gender and pregnancy discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
For now, Samford’s out of a job – and to pile cruelty onto insult, she’s now lost her health insurance, just days before her baby is due.
Want to learn more about pregnancy discrimination and the EEOC ? Read this blog by NWLC Vice President Emily Martin.
Next up, in what could news even more ridiculous than the piece outlined above… this week in Wisconsin (after Governor Scott Walker repealed the state’s equal pay law), state Senator Glenn Grothman proclaimed that “money is more important for men.”
Yeah. I don’t even have the time or space here to list all the reasons why money is just as important to me as it is to a man.
Statements like these just continue to perpetuate inaccurate myths about the wage and underestimate the value of women’s work gap (the typical woman in Wisconsin working full time, year round was paid only 78 cents to every dollar paid to a man, by the way). They also perpetuate the idea that the burden of raising children rests squarely on women’s shoulders and women’s shoulders alone – Grothman went on to add that any kind of wage gap comes “from women’s decision to prioritize childrearing over their careers.”
I don’t really think I need to remind the audience of this blog that women are nearly always expected to be the primary care-giver to any children they have, whether they want to be the primary caregiver or not. And even dedicated career women – some of whom I expect decide to forego children altogether because of the unfair treatment mothers receive in some offices – are immune to the gender wage gap. Hey, Senator: it’s not all up to who decided to “go go go,” the most.
Welcome back to 1950 indeed.
Related: this week NWLC released 51 new factsheets, chronicling the wage gap in every state and the District of Columbia. We also released new report detailing the wide variations in the wage gap from state-to-state that was featured on MSNBC this morning.
And finally, last week we found out that Mattell was releasing a new Presidential Barbie with help from The White House Project. This week, we found out the design of another hotly-anticipated Barbie: Hunger Games protagonist Katniss Everdeen.
(If you’re not familiar with The Hunger Games, I’m going to point you here and here, because it will not be possible for me to succinctly encapsulate the trilogy here. Just know this: Katniss is a teenage girl who survives in a post-apocalyptic world by hunting with a bow and arrow. She’s pretty much the best shooter around.)
Anyway! Many Hunger Games fans were worried that the Katniss Barbie would look too much like, well, Barbie and not like herself. Fans were given a nice surprise this week when images of the Katniss Barbie were released, dressed in an outfit close to her own hunting gear and complete with her trademark bow and arrows. Thumbs-up from me to Mattell on keeping true to her character: Katniss is good with a bow and arrow, and she’s not fond of dresses. Or high heels. It’s pretty neat that the doll makers are depicting like this – Katniss is often healed as a strong female character, and this doll helps reinforce that image.
Also of on interest this week:
Ashley Judd Slaps Media in the Face for Speculation Over Her ‘Puffy’ Appearance
Ashley Judd nails patriarchy
Governor Jan Brewer Signs Arizona’s Extreme New Abortion Law
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Bro-Choice
Sonia Sotomayor Is Our Country’s First Disabled Supreme Court Justice
George Zimmerman to plead not guilty to second-degree murder in Trayvon Martin case
Newark Mayor Booker saves life in fire, then catches fire on Internet
That’s all for this week! What have you been reading? Let us know by sharing a link in the comments or emailing it to me at djackson(at)nwlc(dot)org.