Women in the Workplace
Despite talk of an “opt out” revolution, working mothers are at the forefront of a new social movement. “Family friendly” policies don’t enforce themselves. As Professor Laurie Freeman found out, it takes a determined woman to overcome the culture of bias that stereotypes mothers as uncommitted and unproductive.
In Burlington Northern v. White, a unanimous United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of forklift operator Sheila White. Adopting a common-sense, context-sensitive test for assessing retaliation claims, the Court recognized what working women always knew--retaliation need not have tangible economic consequences to intimidate employees from complaining about discrimination.
By limiting accommodation to birth mothers, Stanford ignores the needs of graduate students in nontraditional families. Achieving equity requires a policy that accommodates families formed through adoption and surrogacy, and accommodation for gay couples and others who choose an alternative model to “mom stays home; dad goes to work.”