The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was enacted to protect pregnant women against various types of discrimination in employment (Riede, 1997). In terms of discrimination, pregnant women faced various acts owing to their state of being pregnant. Such acts includes failure to secure employment or being fired because of being pregnant. The enactment of the act was mainly fuelled by the increased power of women rights movements (Stolzy, 1996).
The period between the 70's and the 80's witnessed an increase in the power of women right groups that advocated for the rights of women in the society. Coupled with the fact that more women were trying to enter formal employment, the bargaining power of women shot up and rules and regulations had to be enacted to protect such women. Because of the increased number of women seeking employment, the cases of harassment and discrimination, especially against pregnant women also shot up (Riede, 1997). Employers began firing women who became pregnant in between their jobs as they were considered to be less productive. However, the increased power of women and their movement enabled them to marshal the support of Congress which passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.Through the act, there are certain acts that employers are prohibited from committing against pregnant women or women at the child bearing age.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was an amendment to the 7th title of the Civil Rights Act that was enacted in 1964. The act amended Title VII to constitute discrimination based on childbirth, pregnancy or other related conditions under unlawful sex discrimination. Based on this act, pregnant women or those affected by pregnancy are to be treated in the same manner as other employee in the organization who are similar in their inability or ability to work. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act specifically touched on hiring and work conditions, pregnancy and maternity leave, temporary disability, health insurance and equal access to benefits.