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Pregnant In America: Examining Discrimination And Fertility Rates

Pregnancy is lifechanging, but for some women, that may come at the cost of their career.

This hour: A New York Times investigation looked at thousands of lawsuits by women and found that pregnancy discrimination is widespread in many American companies. We find out more from reporter Natalie Kitroeff.

How did your employer respond to you when you were pregnant?

And American women are having fewer babies than in the past. In fact, the fertility rate in Connecticut is among the lowest in the country. We talk about the factors that are influencing women’s decisions to start a family including whether to delay pregnancy until later in life.

Finally, what’s the relationship between education, family planning and a woman’s economic potential? We find out more from a Harvard researcher.

What factors have played into your decision about when to have children? We want to hear from you.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Natalie Kitroeff -  Economy reporter for the New York Times. She and Jessica Silver-Greenberg investigated pregnancy discrimination for the Times
  • Dr. Amanda Kallen - Assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, specializing in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, at Yale School of Medicine
  • Dr. Jocelyn Finlay - Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. She studies the sociology of fertility, and looks at how education and career choices interact with when people decide to have children


New York Times: Pregnancy Discrimination Is Rampant Inside America’s Biggest Companies – “The New York Times reviewed thousands of pages of court and public records and interviewed dozens of women, their lawyers and government officials. A clear pattern emerged. Many of the country’s largest and most prestigious companies still systematically sideline pregnant women. They pass them over for promotions and raises. They fire them when they complain.”

C-HIT: Connecticut Fertility Trends: Older Mothers And Fewer Babies – “‘We’re seeing a skew in births in Connecticut more toward the over-30 age group,’ Kallen said. ‘We’re definitely seeing this sort of delayed childbirth phenomenon. Marriage is taking place later, if it’s taking place at all. Women in Connecticut are having babies. There’s just a trend towards later.’”

World Bank: Female Education and Childbearing: A Closer Look at the Data – “Female education has a greater impact on age of marriage and delayed fertility than male education. Although fertility falls when both male and female levels of education rise together, there is a large gap between male and female secondary school enrollment in sub-Saharan Africa (see figure below). Achieving gender parity in educational attainment could thus have a substantial effect on fertility rates.

Chion Wolf contributed to this show.

Lucy is the Executive Producer and Host of Connecticut Public's morning talk show, 'Where We Live.' She’s a longtime public radio reporter covering several beats including immigration, juvenile justice and child welfare issues, education, veterans affairs and the military.
Carmen Baskauf was a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show Where We Live, hosted by Lucy Nalpathanchil from 2017-2021. She has also contributed to The Colin McEnroe Show.
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