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This Woman’s Male Colleague Openly Told Her People Won't Hire Women Who Might Get Pregnant. Now More Women Are Sharing Their Own Infuriating Stories In Response

Recently, a post from Reddit user u/Mahiyah (Mahiyah, for short) got a lot of attention on the r/girlsgonewired subreddit, "where girls get their geek on" — aka, where women go to discuss all things technology and STEM related. Mahiyah shared her first-hand account of a recent work experience and incredulously asked, "I'm a woman, so I won't get hired because I'll get pregnant — eventually?!"

Here's what happened, in Mahiyah's own words: "I was catching up with a male network of mine, who is a director of a marketing firm, and he said lots of hiring managers think, 'Why would anyone hire a 27-year-old [who's] going to have a baby vs. a 22 or 23-year-old grad?'"

Woman at a laptop resting chin on hands, looking stressed or thoughtful
Jay Yuno / Getty Images

"I'm 24 right now and studying computer science part-time for the next six years while working full time in admin support," says Mahiyah. "I just started my first year and will likely graduate at 30."

Two individuals working at a desk with computers. They are focused on the screens, engaging in a collaborative task

"I am pursuing application security and am already under so much pressure to get qualified and get to work! Everyone says they want more women in STEM and in cybersecurity, but where are the pathways and opportunities?"

Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images

She continues, "I wouldn't want to work at a place that would essentially shame me for having children when I can't possibly control my 'biological clock.'"

The comment section of her post was full of people who commiserated, and had a lot to say about their own experiences.

One user, u/rejectallgoats, said, "When I was a postdoc I heard something like this in very hushed tones at a top research institution for a tenure track position. Scummy. [It's] important to have women on the hiring committees."

"It's unfortunately true," said u/it_is_Karo. "I talked with two managers that admitted that if they had two young candidates with the same credentials, they would hire a man because there's a higher risk that when a woman gets a stable job, she would want to have a family. 😅"

Split screen of a man with a surprised expression on the left and a skeptical expression on the right
NBC

"This is so ironic because all my MALE coworkers are the ones having kids and taking parental leave," said u/shrewess.

One mom, with username u/Opala24, said, "I got rejected at one job because I am a mom of a toddler. How do I know that was the reason? Well, they liked me, and I did well [in the interview]... but the recruiter accidentally called me on WhatsApp. [She must have been] looking at my profile picture there."

Person at a desk appears stressed while looking at laptop with phone and notebook nearby

User u/retromani recalled "the epiphany I had at 19 that jobs asked for your title — Ms., Mrs., or Miss — and even if it's optional, it is the stupidest, easiest way for them to turn down your application. They can just make that same conclusion about you possibly getting married/having children soon when cross referencing your title with your age."

Man looking shocked with a hand over his mouth
Man looking shocked with a hand over his mouth

NBC

"A lot of women don't think [about] that right off the bat," she said, "so they'll still choose to input a title. That was one of my most prominent female rage moments, realizing [we have all these] different titles as women, but men just have 'Mr.,' no matter their relationship/age situation. And [realizing] how much of our private life becomes a huge part of people's impression of us, whereas men's private lives are not even questioned or brought up against their reputation or whether they deserve respect in the workplace."

"My boyfriend's sister is going into the same field as me," said u/mongoosedog12. "She, however, got a later start, and while we’re the same age, she’s going in as a 'freshman' at 30. Even though she’s not married, has no kids and currently doesn’t plan on having kids, I told her to exclude anything that would hint at her age."

Woman in a black dress with spaghetti straps, looking surprised or amused
Woman in a black dress with spaghetti straps, looking surprised or amused
Kristen Bell making a funny face on a talk show, wearing a black sleeveless top
Kristen Bell making a funny face on a talk show, wearing a black sleeveless top

TBS

"[For example,] putting the dates of her community college to four-year college would show a nine-plus year gap. At our age, they assume we have kids or will be soon. The 'advantage' of being young, hands untied, is robbed of us."

One woman, u/Comprehensive-Army65, wrote, "I got laid off for taking maternity leave. And I’m in Canada. I called a lawyer and the labor board, and the best they could do for me was make the company give me my job back for one month, after which the company would be free to fire me. I didn’t even bother."

This type of discrimination doesn't go away when people get past childbearing age, either. "On the flip side, with being older, ageism is rampant," said u/Chance_Split_7723. "I am in sudden pursuit of a job [after getting] laid off (in an industry that 'celebrates' age and experience), and ugh. I'm not dead. I can still learn things. It's frustrating."

Woman in a formal blouse speaking to someone off-camera
BBC One / Prime Video

But things aren't all bleak, and some people had great tips for how to mitigate sexism. User u/Mahdreams wrote, "When looking into companies, find one with maternity and paternity leave. We give 12 weeks' paid leave to either partner, adoption and surrogacy included. In my team of eight engineers and one architect (in which I'm the only woman), three had new births in the last year and one more will be going on leave in May. It speaks to the culture of the company when the benefit works for everyone. It discourages this kind of thinking."

Adult holding a child in a kitchen, both facing away from the camera
Johner Images / Getty Images

And finally, from u/issadumpster: "I have heard women say they were fired when their manager found out they were pregnant. That's a lawsuit waiting to happen. [But] even women employers do that. I [once] watched a talk show where women employers openly admitted this, and refused to see their fault. They know they're enabling men, and they like it. [It's almost like] if they had to suffer through something, they want subsequent women to suffer too, instead of making sure they do not go through the same thing."

Woman lying on a couch, looking thoughtfully out a window with buildings in the background
Westend61 / Getty Images/Westend61

I am horrified. You'd hope this stuff would be over in 2024. Please let me know your thoughts, and feel free to share any relevant stories you have, either in the comments below or in this anonymous Google Form. Your story may be featured in an upcoming BuzzFeed Community post.

Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.