“The construction of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act primarily reflects the “equal treatment” philosophy espoused by some feminist legal scholars (Vogel, 1993; Williams, 1993). These scholars argue that legislation from the later 1800s and early 1900s, singling out women for special treatment in the work place (e.g., maximum hours legislation for women, minimum wage legislation for women, etc.), perpetuated a stereotype of women workers as less capable and less reliable than men, thus causing more discrimination against women workers. The equal treatment philosophy discourages adoption of such laws because they nudge (or force) families to structure their relationships along sex-based lines.  Instead of arguing that pregnancy is a characteristic unique to women that requires special employment policies, equal treatment advocates seek paradigms that allow for comparisons between women affected by pregnancy and their non-pregnant co-workers in order to eliminate stereotypes of women workers as less capable.” (Thornton)

Thornton, S. (2005). Pregnancy Discrimination Act, a Sloan Work and Family Encyclopedia entry. Retrieved May 10, 2007, from the Sloan Work and Family Research Network website: