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Japanese Woman Apologises To Employer For Falling Pregnant “Before Her Turn”

"The director had determined the order in which workers could get married or pregnant"

A husband’s letter has shed light on a disturbing practice in Japan, in which employers create schedules outlining when their female staff can fall pregnant.

After his wife was criticised for “selfishly breaking the rules” by falling pregnant before it was her turn at the childcare centre where she worked, her husband wrote a letter to Mainich Shimbun, one of Japan’s major newspapers, outlining their experience. 

“The director at the child care centre where she works had determined the order in which workers could get married or pregnant, and apparently there was an unspoken rule that one must not take their ‘turn’ before a senior staff member,” he writes, adding that his wife has since been told she isn’t allowed to take time off to get married.

Note to her employer (and anyone else drafting up such schedules): the female reproductive system just doesn’t work that way.

Maternity harassment – matahara in Japanese – is rife in Japan, the Telegraph reports, citing a 2015 government survey which revealed that half of the country’s female employees had experienced some level of harassment after falling pregnant. One in five were fired.

You can read the letter in full here.

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