Women's eNews has this interesting column on a practice I thought had gone out of style with the beehive hairdo: maternal profiling.
Evidently there are still states where it isn't illegal to ask a woman in a job interview about her marital status and whether or not she has children.
Only 22 states and Puerto Rico specifically prohibit employers from inquiring about applicants' marital status. That means "maternal profiling" is a real problem for many women.
Just ask Kiki Peppard.
For 12 years Peppard, a single mother, has campaigned to get Pennsylvania to make it illegal for employers to ask about an applicant's marital or familial status. Last week, on Nov. 30, the bill died its most recent death when committee chairmen refused to allow it to move to the floor of the state House and Senate for a vote.
This bill has not only failed with legislators, it's also been pretty much of a non-starter with the press.
I'm surprised the press hasn't been more interested in this, given their feminist leanings in most areas surrounding women and work. The idea that there are still employers asking women if they are married and/or have children is boorish and intrusive.
I've been in a few similar interviews where the interviewer was trying to find out if I had children without coming out and asking. It's perfectly legal in most states to do so.
Most people think such questions (aside from being intrusive) are illegal, but as Kiki Peppard has found out in Pennsylvania, there's not always much sympathy for women who say this is no one's business.
"I've sent numerous letters to female news anchors, the cast of 'The View,' Katie Couric, '60 Minutes,' '20/20,' 'Primetime,' you name it. No reply. I've sent letters to Paula Zahn. No reply," Peppard says. "I've written to Oprah twice a year for 12 years, asking if she would do a story about this on her show."
This is certainly one of those issues that should get women (and families) exercised. Ensuring that such inappropriate questions be barred from the job interview process should be a priority of feminists.
"What I can't stress enough is that this legislation impacts all women, not just mothers," Peppard says. "I can't tell you how many women have told me that they were asked during job interviews when they planned to become pregnant. Do you know of any male asked during a job interview when he planned to get someone pregnant or if he ever did?"