When it comes to earning a salary, the gender gap is old news. An article in Business Week says that, according to a recent study, the new inequality is the difference in pay between working women who are mothers and those who aren’t.
It’s easy to focus on the paycheck — mothers were offered an average of $11,000 less in starting salary than non-mothers, the study found — but working moms often aren’t only struggling for equal pay, they’re often struggling for equal respect as well. And that may be even more difficult to come by.
In “The Motherhood Penalty: Working Moms Face Pay Gap Vs. Childless Peers,” sociologists Shelley Correll, Stephen Benard, and In Paik point out that used fake resumes to conduct two separate experiments. The first looked at how mothers (who were identified as such on the resumes) were evaluated by prospective employers. The second measured the chances that mothers would land an interview or be recommended for hire, compared to childless women, fathers, and childless men.
Ready for the results?
Women who identified themselves as mothers were consistently rated as less competent and less committed to their jobs than non-mothers. But men who identified as fathers were rated more positively than non-fathers.
In an interview about the study, researcher Correll says, “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 stereo-types are disadvantaging. With mothers, the effects were huge, such as being about 100 percent less likely to be recommended for hire than childless women and being offered much lower starting salaries.
1.) If a candidate is “100 percent less likely to be hired,” that would mean that the candidate is never hired, wouldn’t it? The study showed that the childless female “candidates” were 2.1 times more likely to be called for an interview than the ones whose fake resumes indicated that they had kids. (Male “candidates” received the same number of interview requests whether they said they were fathers or not.) So, that means that female “candidates” with kids were 50 percent less likely to be hired, not 100 percent. Point taken, but the number crunching is confusing.
2.) If you’re not applying for a job that requires experience with children, and unless you’re opting back in to the workforce and have a career gap that warrants an explanation, why mention your kids on your resume at all?
Working moms, do you put parenthood on your resume? And do you think you’ve been deemed less competent in the office because you still have kids at home?