March 6, 2014 4:03 pm

Pregnant women still face discrimination: commission

FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission says discrimination against women represent about 12 per cent of their caseload and most are filed by pregnant women. F

“Women sometimes are afraid to lodge a complaint. They’re worried they’ll get black mailed,” said Commission chair, Randy Dickinson. “But people need to protect their rights not only for themselves, but it protects the rights for other people who come behind them.”

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Dickinson said he often hears about pressures to make women quit a job before taking maternity leave, or employers cutting a job all together to avoid paying for the leave.

“How could people be so cruel or stupid or unaware of their obligations for human rights?” Dickinson said. “It’s not a case of understanding legislation, it’s just a question of basic fairness and decency, and how do we treat our fellow men and women?”

March 8 marks International Women’s Day and Dickinson said it’s a time to celebrate the work of those women who have furthered women’s equality.

Beth Crowell owns Mayday Fine Print Inc. in Fredericton, but said it took her three years before she could call herself owner.

“As the owner of a printing company, which is generally a male dominated industry, I had a really hard time self-promoting,” she said.

Crowell is also the president of the Fredericton Women’s Business Network, a group that connects female entrepreneurs with business owners. She said there’s still discrimination in the workplace, especially when women announce a pregnancy.

“One woman that I talked to was on her BlackBerry the same night that she gave birth, doing work,” she said.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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