09 June 2009

Mums penalised in the workplace

It's no secret that being a mum is hard work. According to new research from Cornell University, being a mum is literally hard when it comes the paid workforce. A survey of women shows that the wage gap between mothers and childless women is actually larger than the wage gap between women and men...and it's a big one: $11,000

Using fake resumes for two equally qualified candidates–one childless, one a mum—the researchers found that the mother was 100% less likely to be hired when she applied for a position. Mothers were consistently ranked as less competent and less committed than childless women.

On the other hand, fathers got higher ratings than childless men. The researchers used more fake resumes to apply for 638 jobs over 18-months. Childless women got 2.1 times as many interview requests as mothers with similar credentials. There was no difference among fathers and childless men, however.

Researcher Shelley Correll is not surprised by the findings:

"I was not surprised to find that mothers were discriminated against, but I was very surprised by the magnitude of the discrimination. With gender or race, we often talk about the subtle ways that stereotypes are disadvantaging. With mothers, the effects were huge, such as being about 100% less likely to be recommended for hire than childless women and being offered much lower starting salaries."

What do you think? Have you experienced such discrimination?


Anonymous said...

I've never applied for a job but if I did I think I would 'deserve' the discrimination. I could never be as dedicated to anything as I am to my kids. No matter how busy things were at work, if I was needed at home or anything like that, I would just leave. Quit on the spot if I had to. So I would definitely have less commitment than a childless woman and it wouldn't bother me if a childless woman was hired over me.

Anonymous said...

Since when do you talk about your children in your resume?! When I applied for my last job, I made sure not to talk about being a mother until I made it into the final rounds of interviews, and then I only brought it up because I was looking for flexibility from the company.

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