A Better Balance Community Advocate

Takirah Woods, New Jersey

At 14 weeks pregnant, Takirah, a family services worker in New Jersey, was advised by her doctor not to lift over 15 pounds, something she only rarely did. When she requested the accommodation, her employer forced her to take unpaid leave. Desperate to keep her job, she asked her doctor to lift the restriction, even though it could compromise her health and pregnancy. “I felt angry, discriminated against, and confused,” she said. “So many thoughts ran through my head. How would I care for my family and pay my bills? I’m only three months pregnant, my medical insurance will be depleted within ninety days—what will I do then? How will I survive with no employment?”

Now a member of ABB’s Board, Takirah has fearlessly shared her personal experience of pregnancy discrimination with members of Congress and the public through a powerful Op-Ed published in Ms. Magazine, motivated by a desire to ensure that what happened to her does not happen to other women. She is a strong advocate for gender justice, particularly the rights of Black women in the U.S. 

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