Seventeen Magazine’s editor-in-chief, Michelle Tan, was fired while on maternity leave. Tan was named Seventeen’s editor-in-chief in 2014 after leaving her job as special projects editor with Time magazine. During her time at the helm of Seventeen, Tan pushed the magazine to devote more attention to up-and-coming designers and to include more racially diverse models and issues.
She also led the magazine to launch an original capsule collection (a small collection of essential clothes and fashion items) under the Seventeen brand.
Joanna Coles, editorial director at Seventeen and editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan, made the decision to give Tan the boot. Coles has not issued a statement regarding why Tan was fired, although some have tweeted their dismay towards the decision, such as Anna Wahrman.
— Anna Wahrman (@wahrman) August 23, 2016
In 2015, the magazine’s subscriptions remained steady compared to the previous year at 2 million readers. However, its newsstand sales plummeted by over 47 percent to 81,831 issues.
But no matter what Tan’s numbers looked like, firing a woman on maternity leave is a dick move.
The decision is also more than a bit ironic for a magazine that touts itself as an outlet to empower women and girls. Women tend to suffer the most when trying to balance their work with family obligations, and thousands of pregnant women are pushed out of jobs illegally each year.
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the event of a pregnancy, birth of a child, or family medical emergency, but the law only covers about 60 percent of all U.S. workers. Workers who have been with a company less than a year, or who work at a company with less than 50 employees, are excluded from the right to take family leave.
Progressive cities and states have more generous family leave laws. San Francisco, for example, passed the nation’s most generous family leave law in April of this year. The new law mandates that employers offer six weeks of fully paid family leave, and improves on California’s statewide law that only required employers to offer 55 percent of a worker’s wages.
California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New York also offer paid family leave.
The U.S. is one of only four countries in the world that does not provide paid family leave. A mere 13 percent of U.S. workers have paid family leave through their employers.
Featured image via Twitter screengrab.