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In Nuoro, a 20-year-old woman was fired because she was pregnant

In Italy, maternity is only good when it is on the terms of those in charge

In Nuoro, a 20-year-old woman was fired because she was pregnant In Italy, maternity is only good when it is on the terms of those in charge

Women are not paid as much as men, they struggle to access the job market as much as them. When they graduate, continuing their university career, climbing the pyramid from PhDs upwards, is made difficult for them. Their body belongs to everyone, their decisions are made in public, and they must respect the wishes of the family, the employer, the government: everyone except themselves. The case of Nuoro is yet another confirmation.

Women and work: the case of Nuoro

A twenty-year-old living in the province of Nuoro has reported what happened to her in a cleaning company in her area. In her words, after feeling unwell, her boss forced her to take a pregnancy test: "She asked me to do it immediately, there in the office bathroom, in front of two male colleagues I barely knew, under threat of dismissal." A violation not only of any workplace code of conduct, but also of the employee's body and privacy, who complied because she was not aware of her rights. The test was negative, but it didn't end there. Because she was actually pregnant, and the first result was wrong. "I had constant nausea, I went to the Asl gynecologist, she made me repeat the test and the ultrasound, and I found out I was expecting a baby," added the girl speaking with Open. She informed the company, and through the union (which meanwhile lodged a complaint with the Labor Inspectorate of Nuoro, the local Asl, and the Inps) she found out she had been fired.

Women and pregnancy, what happens in job interviews

It's not news. Often, women report similar behaviors even in the context of job interviews, where questions about personal life abound. They ask us if we are engaged, if we have children, if we want to have them. Because a pregnant employee is a problem, because those who hire don't want to "carry the burden" of granting maternity leave, of hiring someone in replacement. Actually, it would be forbidden, in black and white. In the Code of Equal Opportunities between men and women – Dlgs 198/2006, article 27 specifies: "Any discrimination regarding access to work in a subordinate, autonomous or in any other form, including selection criteria and conditions of employment, as well as promotion at all levels of the professional hierarchy, is prohibited." This discrimination can also be carried out "by referring to marital or family status or pregnancy" and is prohibited in any case. Not that this stops them, anyway.

Motherhood on their terms

Getting pregnant if we are employees and have signed a contract is considered betrayal towards the company, the boss, work ethics. On the other hand, however, abortion is increasingly complicated. Conscientious objectors, in Italy, are numerous. In some regions it is almost impossible. And then people wonder why the numbers of abortions decrease. So, what do they want from women? Motherhood on their (entrepreneurs', those in government) terms, it seems. A generation of young adult women who to get pregnant and start a family give up everything, with no guarantees or help.

What can we do?

In an ideal world, action should be taken against those who hire, with serious and immediate measures for those who so blatantly and horribly violate anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, even during interviews. In our own small way, what we can do is educate ourselves well about our rights and duties and explain them to our colleagues, form a chain of solidarity among us, report together, and testify for each other. Some labor law associations also offer free consultations to victims of discrimination. Let's hang in there, waiting for better times.