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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?
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