What Will My Job Think? Survivor Speaks

By Tracey Rubin

Professional woman at work signing a document.

In 2018, I was fired for becoming a mother. Until that point, I had a long and prestigious marketing career and high hopes for my future. But that future quickly escaped me. While job hunting, every interviewer asked about the end date on my resume. I was forced to disclose that I was a new mom and that’s where most conversations ended. I found myself pushed out of the labor force and into being a stay-at-home mom completely dependent on my husband.

The experience shocked me to my core. As a young woman, every message I heard encouraged me to lean into my career. I knew very few instances of gender discrimination. But when I started to share my experience with others, stories came out of the woodworks. Everyone I told knew at least three other women who lost or left jobs due to issues relating to their gender. I also learned all the reasons why they keep their stories quiet. Women are forced to sign confidentiality agreements when they get severance offers or settle a lawsuit. They don’t want to be seen as troublemakers to prospective employers. Companies threaten to sue them for defamation. The gender pay gap and lack of female representation in leadership started to take on a whole new light for me.

I wanted to set the record straight on what’s truly contributing to gender inequality in today’s workforce. So I created a podcast, The Female Fallout, to serve as a platform for women to share their stories and expose how rampant gender discrimination still is in today’s workforce.

On this quest, I learned that one of the major issues contributing to women’s economic insecurity is domestic violence. Seher Khawaja, Senior Attorney for Economic Empowerment at Legal Momentum, a legal advocacy organization for women and girls, unpacks the issue eloquently in episode 4, premiering Tuesday, May 4th 2021. In this interview, she asks us to consider the impact on women’s job security if they have to flee town to escape a relationship. She educates us on the importance of paid safe time, reasonable accommodations and housing for survivors. I was really moved by these issues and felt compelled to ask my good friend, who had recently gotten out of a long-term abusive relationship, if she might be willing to share her story on the podcast.

In episode 6, premiering Tuesday, May 18th my friend Jennifer invites listeners into her very personal experience of abuse and how it impacted her career. We hear why she kept this aspect of her life secret from her job and discuss how hard it can be to come forward to your workplace. We also discuss the close connection between abuse and stalking when she admits to moving across the country and shutting off all social media so he couldn’t find her. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has partnered with us to drive tune-in to this important episode and stand behind critical legislation that’s necessary to empower and free all survivors.

The first season of the podcast closes on Tuesday, June 22nd when we speak with New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi. In addition to discussing her critical work to help survivors of domestic violence, she also offers an inside glimpse on politics and how to make real change happen. We know that financial independence is a crucial component to free survivors from abusive relationships and it’s our mission to advocate for policies and laws that will better protect all women’s economic security. Visit femalefallout.com to subscribe to the podcast, sign our petition and share your story.

Tracey Rubin graduated from New York University in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology. She continued to live in New York City after college, working in advertising and marketing for media companies including Viacom, NBCUniversal and Hearst. It was when she took a position at a media agency that she lost her job and career upon becoming a mother. Raised by a single mother after losing her father at a young age, Tracey’s keenly familiar with the necessity to protect women’s careers and economic security. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two young children.