The motherhood penalty
Curt Rosengren on Business
Are you a woman thinking of having children? Be prepared to take a hit on the career front, according to a pair of recent studies. Planning on having more than one child? Get ready to take an even bigger hit.
Shelley Correll, the author of the study and an associate professor of sociology at Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., said she not only found proof of discrimination in her 18-month study, she also found salaries for working mothers tended to decrease exponentially with each additional child.
In one study, a group of students were shown two similar resumes with no reference to gender or family status. The evaluations were essentially identical. Then another group of students were shown the same two resumes, except this time it was two women, one a mother and one with no reference to family status.
The outcome changed dramatically. The evaluators said they would hire the childless women 84 percent of the time. The mothers were given a job only 47 percent of the time.
The mothers also were offered a starting salary of $11,000 less than their counterparts without children.
Then she tried it out in the real world
In an undisclosed Northeastern city, she created 300 pairs of cover letters and resumes to apply for advertised midlevel marketing positions. One 'applicant' said in her cover letter she was relocating with her family. The resume mentioned the parent-teacher board position. The other cover letter said that the 'applicant' was relocating but made no mention of a family.
Early results of this study show the applicant who did not mention a family was called in for an interview twice as frequently as the mother.
Anyone surprised? What do you think? Does that reflect what you've seen out there? Any stories to share?