In the dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, the United States becomes known as Gilead, a totalitarian and misogynist society where the birth rate has plummeted and women who are still fertile become baby-producing slaves for the elite. There have been many creepy moments in the Hulu series that seemed a bit too much like premonitions of the future under Trump and Pence, and now it seems we have another: The birth rate in America is dropping, though not for the same reasons as in the show –yet.
— The Handmaid's Tale (@HandmaidsOnHulu) May 24, 2018
Instead, women in America are having fewer kids because they are being punished for having them.
A pattern of “rampant discrimination” against women having children in the workforce is being seen.
The phrase, “mommy track” has been coined to describe how women who become pregnant at work face lower salaries with fewer raises and face fewer high-level opportunities.
The CDC reported that for the first time in 30 years, the birth rate is lower in America than the “replacement” rate needed to sustain the population into the future.
— The Handmaid's Tale (@HandmaidsOnHulu) April 7, 2018
The Labor Department reveals that the overwhelming majority of women or 88 percent get no paid leave. One in four mothers goes back to work less than two weeks after giving birth, which could lead to health problems for mother and baby.
A Huffington Post report pinpoints one problem causing it in particular: Pregnant mothers get very little social support, especially from their employers. It’s either one avoids having children or risk losing a job or promotion. In other cases, expectant mothers face economic hardships in a country where both spouses have to work just to get by.
While conservatives blame social media, and pornography, and Fox News points at male immigrants, it seems that the Huffington Post is much more on target.
Four out of 10 Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, without even a small cushion to help them when unexpected expenses are incurred. If employers are unwilling to help, then buying such things as diapers and formula can easily ruin cash-strapped budgets.
“Pregnancy and the arrival of a new child should be a time of joy and excitement, but for working women in the United States, it’s often a time of financial stress and uncertainty. Women who dare become mothers are subject to additional discrimination, bias and harassment.”
It certainly doesn’t help matters to have a President who has famously made his own comments about a female employee who became pregnant in his employ. Carolyn Kepcher, a regular on his show, The Apprentice, waited until she was six months pregnant before she dared reveal it to Trump.
As it turned out, Kepcher’s instincts about not telling Trump were correct. In an NBC interview, Trump revealed that he thought pregnancy was “an inconvenience for a person that is running a business.”
Kepcher would take off only three full-time weeks before heading back to work, and when asked if Trump would have considered replacing her if she took longer, Trump didn’t entirely rule it out.
“No, although it’s an interesting premise,” said Trump. “Maybe she should feel that way a little bit, but the fact is, that would not have happened.”
Certainly, anybody can read between the lines and see that in today’s America, women are under real pressure not to become pregnant in the first place. Many CEO’s like Trump used to be see it as merely an “inconvenience” rather than a valuable part of the human experience worth supporting for more than a brief time at best.
The economic strain imposed by American corporations and their tendency to see a human being less like a person and more like a bottom-line cash producing robot is resulting in fewer actual Americans.
While we aren’t currently seeing the environmental disasters seen in the Handmaid’s Tale, it doesn’t seem far-fetched that we might one day soon, as Trump gives a green light to unchecked pollution by the very same corporations.
What’s next? Unless American women decide to turn it around, the country may continue to feel like it’s moving toward a version of Gilead.
— The Handmaid's Tale (@HandmaidsOnHulu) May 27, 2018
See the video of Trump and Carolyn Kepcher below:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube