Showing Pregnancy in the Workplace

I’m honored to have contributed to Showing Pregnancy in the Workplace, a photography project from Working Assumptions that documents visibly pregnant people while working, to offset a lack of photographic representation of working pregnant people in popular culture. The project questions if the existence of these images could help us think more critically about our values and expectations. Around eight years ago I followed Halbe (above) in her role as Director of Advancement, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, at the University of Washington. It took some time for the project to be published, but it’s finally up!

From the Showing website:

“Pregnancy in the workplace is a familiar part of public life. About half of paid workers in the United States are women, and the majority of them will have a baby over the course of their work life. Pregnant women work in all areas: offices, legislatures, warehouses, hospitals, stores, fields, and anywhere else they can collect a paycheck.

And yet, pregnancy in the workplace is nearly invisible. After extensive research from 2009 to 2012, Working Assumptions uncovered only a handful of photos depicting pregnancy in the workplace. Staged stock photos and celebrity “baby bump” shots were plentiful. But real everyday images of pregnant women at work were few and far between.

Showing: Pregnancy in the Workplace is a project about this blind spot. What would happen if we put photographers in workplaces with visibly pregnant women? That question soon sparked others. Why is pregnancy in the workplace so rarely photographed? Is there something uncomfortable about the topic? And can these photographs help us think critically about our values and our expectations about productivity, power, vulnerability, and nurturing?

More women in the U.S. work, and more men spend time raising their children, than ever before. Things are changing. So why does pregnancy in the workplace still look surprising?”

You can browse the collection of images here. Bonus image below of me at 8 months, working through my own pregnancy back in 2017. I was sporting a pregnancy belt under that drop-crotch romper.

image by Jeramie Shoda

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