A worker at a private childcare center in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, was reprimanded by her employer because, apparently, it was not her “turn” to get pregnant.
When the woman, who remains unnamed, found out she was pregnant, her boss reportedly lashed out at her for “selfishly breaking the rules.”
After the employer’s disapproval of the couple’s pregnancy, the woman’s 28-year-old husband decided to highlight the case and wrote a letter to Japanese national newspaper Mainichi Shimbun.
In the letter he wrote his wife was criticized by her boss for being pregnant because the director of the childcare center had set up “shifts” stating when his female employees could get married or pregnant.
He also shed light on the plight of women in some Japanese companies that set rules and dictate to women employees when they can get pregnant.
“The director at the child care center where she works had determined the order in which workers could get married or pregnant, and apparently there was an unspoken rule that one must not take their 'turn' before a senior staff member...,” he wrote in the letter.
As soon the couple found out about the pregnancy, they personally met with the childcare director to apologize.
“Childcare providers sacrifice their own children to care for the children of others. It is a noble profession that nurtures children who will forge the future of this country. I respect my wife for her commitment to her profession, and continue to encourage her. The conditions of those working to nurture and care for children are evidence of a backward country,” added the husband.
The case shed light on Japan’s issue of maternity harassment, aka “matahara” in Japanese.
A 2015 survey conducted by the government revealed majority of working women in the country face harassment after becoming pregnant. The survey also found, as a result, one in five women lose their jobs.
Apparently, the issue is not only a problem for women working in the childcare industry of the country but in other fields as well.
In 2017, a similar incident took place when a 26-year-old woman who worked at cosmetic company in Tokyo raised her voice and said her employer told her she was not allowed to get pregnant until she was 35.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Alex Lee