Motherhood Penalty Essay

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Over the last several decades we have seen a dramatic shift in the role that women play both at home and in the labor market. The traditional role of homemaker has been challenged by women across the nation as their labor force participation has steadily increased over the decades. Whether it be part time, full time or at home, women are working much more than they used to, and this has led to conflicts both at home and the workplace about how to find the perfect balance between family and work life. Long gone are the days when the traditional breadwinner vs. homemaker family model predominated in our society. Now a days, dual earning households are the norm in our society, but institutions and workplaces still lack the appropriate resources …show more content…
Although subtle but pervasive, the motherhood penalty exists due to our gendered cultural assumptions and stereotypes of mothers and their capabilities as ideal workers. It has repeatedly been noted in research that “contemporary social beliefs include assumptions that employed mothers are less committee to work than non-mothers, and consequently put less effort” into their work (Correll, Benard & Paik, 2007). These biased and stereotypical expectations make working mothers seem less competent, “more costly, and less desirable” than their male counterparts, setting the stage for discriminatory practices among employers nationwide (Reuter, 2006). When trying to navigate a male centric job model, many women are faced with the struggles of trying to be seen as an ideal worker despite these gendered assumptions existing in our society. Studies show that “visibly pregnant women managers are judged as less committed to their jobs, less dependable, and less authoritative” and simultaneously they are also seen as “warmer, more emotional, and more irrational than otherwise equal women managers who are not visibly pregnant (Correll et al., 2007). This evidence supports the notion that women are believed to be less efficient employees simply because they are women and have the capability of having children. The motherhood penalty is especially problematic for working mothers because as we can see above “cultural definitions of a good mother typically conflict with cultural definitions of a good worker, and images of motherhood and job or career are constructed in opposition to each other” (Garey,

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