'The Crippled Workforce'

Making Room for Women in New Media

Christine Grillo is of that generation. A 30-year-old site producer at the New York office of Raremedium, a Dallas-based Web-development firm, she's now pregnant with her first child. Although coworkers and management have been supportive, Grillo says, the company didn't even have a maternity policy in place until last year, when a coworker became the first to get pregnant.

"I really think that when she got pregnant, they were like, wow, this could happen again," she says. "I don't think it's intentional discrimination—it just doesn't occur to them." Now new moms get 90 days of leave with 60 percent of their salary. "If new media wanted to be really innovative," Grillo says, "they could do little things, like have rooms for using a breast pump." Instead, she says, "mommies are looked at as sort of the crippled workforce," and the less-than-helpful policies "beg the question: Does new media want mommies being there?"

Judging by the opinions of mothers in the field, a few perks could go a long way. "I feel way more valued by someone saying, 'If you need to stay home, then stay home,' " says the Manhattan-based content producer, "rather than, 'Here's some more stock options.' "

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