Audrey Gelman – How The Image of Pregnancy in the Workplace Has Changed

Back in 2019 Audrey Gelman made a statement for the ages as she was featured on the front cover of Inc. magazine’s issue which celebrated the top 100 female founders in the world. Audrey created the co-working space Wings which is focused heavily on females in the workplace. In particular Audrey and her team wish to create a safe and comfortable environment for women working in all sectors of business, and Wings has gone on to become very successful indeed.

As if her inclusion in this list wasn’t enough however, she went one step further and featured on the front cover with her baby bump showing for all to see. This marked yet another move forward in the attitudes towards pregnancy in the workplace, and here is how that has changed for the better over the years.

Previous Opinions

The reality is that historically pregnancy and being a mother was the thing that actually kept women down, regarding their role in business. Women were very much seen as the homemakers whilst the men would be seen as the breadwinners. Thankfully this antiquated attitude has changed a lot in recent decades and hopefully it won’t be long before it is completely dispelled.

Providing an Inspiration

Another reason why this front cover shoot was so important is that women around the world have taken risks in their workplace and in business based on the examples which they have seen of others. By taking that photo as a pregnant CEO, Audrey has no doubt inspired millions around the world.

Pressure on Giving Rights

Another key change we saw predominantly throughout the 90s was the obligation of companies to give women time off to have children, with pay to help them to support their family. As much as we would love businesses to stand up and offer this outright, there were many who had to be forced into doing so by the government. In fact even now there are businesses which will only stick to the bare minimum of what they have to do regarding maternity, yet there are others which are far more generous with their money and their time. The hope is that we continue to see businesses stepping up and offering higher levels of support to those women.

Pregnant and Powerful

And finally that front cover also showed that not only should pregnancy not put you out of the workplace, women can in fact be powerful and pregnant. Historically those powerful women would likely have decided against children, yet in the modern age there is nothing stopping them from continuing their roles and having children. We live in a world whereby men can look after kids whilst the women work, and where parent sharing and job sharing is the norm. The only way that we got here was as a result of people like Audrey putting their head above the parapet and showing that it could be done.

We have a long way to go, but things are certainly going in the right direction.