One story that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has repeatedly told on the 2020 campaign trail is about how she was let go from her first teaching job when she was 22, after school officials realized she was pregnant.
But now Warren is on the defense with her account after an interview from over a decade ago resurfaced in which she described the circumstances around her departure from the school district in a different way, and conservative outlets acquired meeting notes from the school board of the time showing that her contract was extended.
The Democratic presidential hopeful is now using her circumstance to highlight the stories of other women in the United States who have faced gender-based discrimination.
"We can fight back by telling our stories. I tell mine on the campaign trail, and I hope to hear yours," Warren said in a tweet on Tuesday.
After I became visibly pregnant, I was told that the job I'd been promised for next year would go to someone else. Pregnancy discrimination is real, and it still happens today—but telling our stories is one way we can fight back. Here are some of your stories that I heard today. pic.twitter.com/x1pe2ikzTr
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 9, 2019
Warren's story goes like this: In 1971, she was offered an extra year to her contract after completing her first year as a teacher, before the school knew that she was pregnant. But after a couple months, once her pregnancy became obvious, "The principal did what principals did in those days—wished me luck and hired someone else for the job."
This all occurred before pregnancy discrimination was outlawed by Congress in 1978.
In an interview from 2007, Warren said that she left her job and stayed home with her new family.
"I actually didn't have the education courses, so I was on an emergency certificate, it was called, and I went back to graduate school and took a couple courses in education, and said 'I don't think this is going to work out for me,'" she said. "And I was pregnant with my first baby, so I had a baby and stayed home for a couple of years, and I Was really casting about thinking, 'What am I going to do?'"
In a statement to CBS News, Warren attempted to clarify the discrepancy.
"After becoming a public figure I opened up more about different pieces in my life and this was one of them. I wrote about it in my book when I became a U.S. Senator," she said.
The school board meeting notes, which CBS also reviewed, include mention of her resignation.
Conservatives have latched on to the changes in her account as yet another example of a "made up" story, along with the now infamous claim to Native American ancestry.
"What you have here is a pattern of someone who's been successful—and by the way she has been successful, she's a U.S. senator—but rather than say, 'I've been successful,' she has claimed repeatedly to be the victim of discrimination," said Fox News' Tucker Carlson.
But many women have come forward with their stories of pregnancy and gender discrimination to show that they believe Warren.
if you don't understand what this furor over the Elizabeth Warren pregnancy firing story is about, ask pretty much any woman in your life over 35.
— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) October 8, 2019
My mom was demoted & then fired from her job when she was pregnant with my sis & me (we’re twins). She re-told us that story recently, and lemme tell you, 30+ years later, the pain & anger from that experience was still very raw & real. Women don’t share this stuff willy nilly.
— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) October 7, 2019
The fact that in 2019 I know women who are nervous announcing their pregnancies at work or job hunting during pregnancy is how I know that pregnancy discrimination is not ancient history
— Aminatou Sow (@aminatou) October 8, 2019
"I think of how this resonates with so many millions of women across this country and people who have been in, if not that exact situation, similar situations," Warren told CBS.
Warren has recently gained ground on 2020 rival former Vice President Joe Biden in national polls, putting her in the lead in poll averages for the first time.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Elizabeth Warren sticks by her story that she was fired for pregnancy