Why Is This Chinese Company Making Male Employees Wear Pregnant Bellies?

The Chinese car valet business Ubo is strapping men into fake pregnant bellies as part of its sensitivity training program.
Courtesy UBO

Every so often, a story makes the news concerning men who wear fake pregnant bellies in an apparent effort to understand what women go through during pregnancy.

The latest such story comes out of China, where Ubo, a car valet service, is requiring a group of its male valets to undertake sensitivity training in the form of wearing fake bumps and drinking lots of water so they have the uncomfortable feeling of full bladders while doing their jobs.

The company's founder, Corrine Zhao, told Mashable that the stunt is all part of the company's efforts to target the demographic of working pregnant women. "Being a housewife and not working is considered lazy and irresponsible, especially if you have higher education," she said. "A lot of [Chinese] companies won't hire women around their late-twenties because they might get pregnant soon."

The valets reported feeling self-conscious (ya think?), and said they gained a new appreciation for certain cultural double standards.

In this latest case, as is my typical response in similar cases, is a teeny bit of gratitude for the effort—mixed with a bunch of eye rolling.

Courtesy UBO

I've always maintained, for instance, that my husband was nothing short of a hero when I was pregnant with my twins, fetching everything I needed, and helping me walk or even turn in bed as my intense third trimester wore on.

But that hardly means his experiences compared to mine in any meaningful way. You can't simulate debilitating acid reflux, for instance. And you can take off a fake pregnant belly whenever you want.

Still, at least this company is making an effort to understand and accommodate the diverse needs and mind frames of pregnant women. As Zhao told Parents.com, "Moms are sometime the best candidates to hire. They went through a stressful experiences, are good at multi-tasking , and often are very compassionate. I would say some of the best people we hired this year are moms that just came back into the workforce. And as the management, we just need to give them more support, such as flexible hours, services like valeting parking, nursing room, and the most important thing: a supportive community."

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Alesandra Dubin is a mom to 1-year-old boy-girl twins. She's also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of lifestyle blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on FacebookInstagramGoogle+ and Twitter.

It is safe to drive while pregnant, but be cautious, as always!

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