Yesterday The Examiner ran a story on an article published in the American Journal of Sociology – and winner of the 2008 Kanter Award Winner for Excellence in Work-Family Research – about the ‘motherhood penalty’: the pattern demonstrating that working mothers make less than women without children. The study, authored by Shelley J. Correll of Stanford University, Stephen J. Benard, and In Paik also suggests that, “the mommy gap is actually bigger than the gender gap for women under 35.”
About the methods:
188 men and women participated in the study. Researchers used two types of experiments in the study; a laboratory experiment and audit study. The laboratory experiment was used to determine “how evaluators rate applicants in terms of competence, workplace commitment, hireability, promotability and recommended salary.” The audit portion of the experiment measured “positive responses to applicants based on the number of callbacks from actual employers.”
Researchers created fictitious resumes and cover letters and found that the starting salaries were quite different for the women with children versus their counterparts, even though the qualifications in the resumes were equal. The researchers also created fake resumes for both working dads and men without children and found no difference in starting salary for the male gender.
And the findings…
The study found that “Mothers were penalized on a host of measures, including perceived competence and recommended starting salary.” On the other hand, men were not. In fact, according to the study, some working dads actually benefited from being a father.
On average, working mothers were offered $11,000 less pay per year than equally qualified women without children.
According to the report, women without children received 2.1 times as many callbacks as mothers who were equally qualified.
Women without children were recommended for hire 1.8 times more than equally qualified moms, while fathers were recommended for hire and called back at a higher rate.