Advancing the rights of working families.


Babygate: How to Survive Pregnancy and Parenting in the American Workplace

By Dina Bakst, Phoebe Taubman and Elizabeth Gedmark

(with foreword by Cynthia Calvert & Joan Williams)

Forthcoming Summer 2014, Feminist Press (Second Edition)

Before women can “lean in” to achieve their career goals, entertain the debate about having it all, or fight for the need to work from home, they have to understand their basic rights in the workplace. For too many women leaning in can result in being pushed out of a job. How and when does the law protect parents? Where does it fall short? A new, insightful guide offers a roadmap to the tricky terrain that comes with being a mom in the American workplace. 


About the book:

Moms-to-be get tons of advice about what to eat, which stroller to buy, and how to get their bodies back after baby arrives. What’s missing is clear and comprehensive advice on how to keep their jobs during pregnancy and beyond. In Babygate, three legal experts share practical tips, real-life stories from moms and dads, and key legal information to spotlight the protections expecting and new parents have (and don’t have) in the workplace. This step-by-step guide covers everything from morning sickness to maternity leave to confronting discrimination on the job. With a clear, often witty, interpretation of the law and various employment policies, the authors explain how workers can advocate for themselves and protect their jobs and paychecks while welcoming their little bundles of joy.

Babygate arms readers with valuable tools, including a ZagatTM-like guide on parents’ rights in each state. The authors also highlight how far the US lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to work-life policies and invite readers to join them in making America a more family-friendly nation. No baby shower is complete without it!

Praise for the book:

“Any mother-to-be who buys What to Expect When You’re Expecting should pick up a copy of Babygate to go with it. It offers indispensable advice to allow working parents to stay on the job and is a blueprint for change in the coming work-family revolution.”

—Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton University professor and author of Why Women Still Can’t Have It All


“A Better Balance, one of the outstanding defenders of parents’ legal rights in the United States, has given us an indispensable guide with Babygate. No new parent should leave the hospital without it!

—Ann Crittenden, Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of The Price of Motherhood


“If you’re a working parent, you need Babygate—an invaluable and humane guide for expecting and new parents about their legal and economic rights in the American workplace. The information in its pages will provide answers to your most important questions and empower you to stand up for yourself and working families.”

—Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation


"This is a necessary resource for expectant parents -- but it's also a must-read for policymakers, and those Americans simply interested in learning whether their country walks the "family values" talk. The unfortunate answer is: often no."

—Joan Williams & Katherine Ullman, the Center for WorkLife Law, The Huffington Post


"...I am so grateful that the nonprofit organization A Better Balance, which lobbies for better pregnancy protection and parental-leave laws, has published a book called 'Babygate: What You Really Need to Know About Pregnancy and Parenting in the American Workplace'... Until the government finances parental leave, the way it does in every other wealthy country, women need to know their rights so they can make informed decisions about their jobs."

—Jessica Grose, author, New York Times, Motherlode.


"The book [Babygate] is the thing that has been missing from parenting libraries, a guide to rights and provisions for pregnant women and new parents, and includes a comprehensive guide to individual state laws and regulation around everything from caregiver discrimination, paid leave policy, and breastfeeding laws. (Spoiler alert: if you’re expecting a child, move to California, not to Mississippi.)"

—Rebecca Traister, author, The New Republic


About the authors:

Dina Bakst, Co-President of A Better Balance, co-founded ABB to advance the legal rights of pregnant women and caregivers in the American workplace.  Bakst’s New York Times op-ed, Pregnant and Pushed Out of a Job, inspired the introduction of the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. A veteran attorney and advocate dedicated to women’s rights and economic justice, Dina lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters.

Phoebe Taubman is a senior staff attorney with A Better Balance, where she works to combat discrimination and advance family-friendly public policies at the local, state and federal levels. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young children.

Elizabeth Gedmark is a staff attorney with A Better Balance and dedicates her time to empowering working families. Originally from Kentucky, she lives in Tennessee with her husband.

Babygate in the Media:


Follow #babygate on twitter and stay tuned for all the latest news and updates.

How well do you know your rights?

Take our Pregnancy Pop QuizPop Quiz About Leave, and quiz about The U.S. v. The World to find out!

Are you a member of a book club or mothers' group?

Use our Babygate discussion questions to start a conversation about how we can change the way America works!

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