According to research copmleted by two sociologists from Cornell University, mothers are not faring as well as similarly qualified fathers or childless applicants when competing for new jobs. Stephen Benard and Shelley Correll set up an experiment by creating several resumes that had similar qualifications with varying features. For instance, some of the "employees to be´ were listed as being members of PTA. Gender was mentioned, as was marital status. These resumes were then given to college students whom thought that they were screening the material and looking for potential employees to work in a new company.
Mothers were not only ranked lower in all areas but one (allowance for late arrivals) but they were also offered lower starting salaries.
However, fathers were offered the greatest starting salaries and were also ranked as the most likely to be promoted.
Childless women fared well on the study.
Do the findings surprise you?
Being a working mother is a double-edged sword. First, you have to worry about being available for your children when they need you: after school events, doctor appointments, sick days. Then you have to worry about being available for work when they need you-not only outside of the regular workweek, but for special events, early or late meetings, and overtime. We want to be great employees, but we also want to be great mothers, and oftentimes one or the other has to give a little in order for us to do both jobs.
Before children, many businesswomen work long hours and rise to the top of the ladder. They make great money and have excellent company perks, and they are respected around the office. After children, these same women have difficulty reentering the workforce if they take time off, and when they do return they go back to lower paying jobs (by up to 28%!) Is this because they stop working the long hours that they worked before or because they are not offered the same type of job or the same rate of pay as another competitor? Probably a mixture of both.
As working mothers, we want the satisfaction that a career can provide. We want to be competitive when we are on the job because we love what we do and we want to succeed in our fields. Yet we also want to take care of our families-to be there for our children when they are sick or in need of advice, a cheering squad, or a warm hand as they are dropped off on that first day of school. While I don´t want a potential employer to think that I am not a hard worker because I´m a mother, I also don´t want the employer to expect me to work 65 hour work weeks at this time in my life. Yet if I am doing the same job as the next person and putting in the same amount of hours, sweat, and commitment, I expect to be paid equally.
So readers, what are your thoughts on this? Does the study anger you, surprise you, shock you, or is it what you would have expected? Do you feel frustrated with the thought that you may be entering a job with lower pay because you have children? Or is that something that you expected when you decided to start a family? I´d love to hear your feedback!