Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Maternal Profiling: Workplace Discrimination

Click on the title to this post to read in full a short Chronicle of Higher Education article and comments about studies showing that mothers are passed over for jobs, and are hired at $11,000 less, on average, than non-mothers (while fathers make $6,000 more, on average, than non-fathers!). You will need a Chronice password to read full text online. Sadly, I don't think it ran in the print issue for January 11. But, it does feature a link to www.momsrising.org. MomsRising has lots more stats and is an activist group combating workplace discrimination against mothers:

Although seldom discussed until fairly recently, maternal profiling is a significant and shared problem which negatively impacts vast numbers of women, particularly since a full 82% of American women become mothers by the time they are 44 years old.

The workplace impacts of maternal profiling are jaw dropping, especially given that three-quarters of American mothers are now in the workforce. In fact, the American Journal of Sociology recently reported a study which found that mothers are 79% less likely to be hired than non-mothers with equal resumes and job experiences.

Mothers also face steep wage hits and unequal wages for equal work. One study found that women without children make 90 cents to a man’s dollar, but women with children make only 73 cents to a man’s dollar. And single mothers make about 60 cents to a man’s dollar.

Even in well-paid positions, mothers face discrimination. A Cornell University study found that mothers were offered $11,000 less in starting pay than non-mothers with the same resumes and job experience, while fathers were offered $6,000 more in starting pay.

That same study also found that mothers were held to harsher work standards than non-mothers and were taken off the management track for reasons that were not justifiable when compared to the behavior of other workers.

The dirty little secret of the American workplace is that maternal profiling is alive and well and has been for a very long time. We just didn’t have words to label this form of discrimination.
MomsRising goes on to discuss how having a child can push a woman or family into poverty levels, either when the mother has to drop her outside job to take care of a newborn, or when the cost of child care when she returns to work hits: Up to $17,500 a 50 week year to care for newborns to 18 months babies. See this earlier post on child care as a work benefit at OOTJ. It's not easy being pink.

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