Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Microaggression and Pregnancy in the Workplace: From Benevolence to Punishment
by Kirby, Shawna Blake, Ph.D., Alliant International University, San Francisco Bay, 2011, 100; 3467177
Abstract (Summary)

Today's workforce is approximately 50% female, with up to 80% of working women becoming pregnant some time during their careers. Despite existing research on gender roles and gender stereotyping, there has been limited literature and discussion on the experience of pregnant women in the workplace. Microaggression is a concept previously developed and used in this study to examine experiences of pregnant women. Microaggressions are small, subtle, non-verbal and/or verbal expressions from others that denote discrimination or negative connotation about another person. Microaggressions are generally unintentional from the perspective of the perpetrator, but may leave the victim feeling confused. The purpose of this study was to understand the types, themes, and circumstances of microaggressions directed at women working during their pregnancies. Microaggression in this context would come from co-workers and supervisors. This was a mixed-method study that used non-parametric testing and thematic analysis within the framework of grounded theory. The thematic analysis was accomplished using an adaptation of Braun and Clarke (2006). A general survey administered to a group of women who had been employed while pregnant (N = 333) on a large social networking site dedicated to parenting. Frequencies, means, and standard deviations were collected for the general survey. Chi-square analyses were run to determine if results were significant (x2 .05 = 216.117; x2.05 = 219.354). Twelve respondents were selected to interview in more depth about their experiences. Ten themes were determined during the thematic analysis of the general survey; thematic analysis of the interviews yielded the same themes. The results indicate that while there were many microaggressions experienced, women also experienced large number of events that reflected benevolence. In conclusion, this study added to the literature on microaggressions, gender, and pregnancy, giving a voice to a population not often studied. Women do experience negative events while working and pregnant, with the reasons most due to gender roles and expectations. If in the future society can change its views on pregnancy and parenthood, changes might begin to occur in the workplace that are positive for women in this regard.

Indexing (document details)
School: Alliant International University, San Francisco Bay
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Clinical psychology, Occupational psychology, Labor relations
Keywords: Chi-square, Microaggression, Online survey, Pregnancy, Workplace discrimination
Publication Number: 3467177
ISBN: 978-1-124-78322-2
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