The Role of Motherhood

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EBERHARD-­‐KARLS-­‐UNIVERSITÄT
 TÜBINGEN
  INSTITUT
 FÜR
 SOZIOLOGIE
  SEMINAR:
 GENDER
 INEQUALITY
  WS
 2012/2013
  DOZENTIN:
 PROF.
 DR.
 LEEN
 VANDECASTEELE

 

 
  COMMENTARY
 PAPER
  THE
 ROLE
 OF
 MOTHERHOOD
 
  Getting
 a
 Job:
 Is
 there
 a
 Motherhood
 Penalty?
 

 
  The
 main
 topic
 in
 the
 text
 written
 by
 Shelley
 J.
 Correll,
 Stephen
 Benard
 and
 In
 Paik
 is
 the
  discrimination
 of
 mothers
 in
 the
 search
 of
 a
 job
 and
 in
 their
 working
 environment.
 The
  authors
  of
  the
  text
  deal
  with
  the
  question
  if
  there
  is
  some
  sort
  of
  a
  “motherhood
  penalty“.
 
  First,
 they
 give
 an
 insight
 on
 the
 current
 state
 of
 research
 and
 summarize
 the
 result
 of
  different
 studies
 and
 come
 to
 the
 conclusion
 that
 there
 is
 a
 lot
 of
 discrimination
 against
  mother
  in
  their
  workplace.
  The
  different
  studies
  did
  find
  some
  interesting
  results:
  Mothers
 suffer
 from
 „a
 substantial
 wage
 penalty”,
 especially
 women
 under
 the
 age
 of
 35,
  where
  the
  pay
  gap
  between
  mothers
  and
  nonmothers
  is
  even
  lager
  than
  the
  pay
  gap
  between
  the
  genders.
 
  But
  the
  disadvantages
  are
  not
  limited
  to
  pay:
  Another
  study
  concludes
  that
  a
  mother
  appears
  less
  competent
  than
  a
  woman
  without
  children.
  This
  also
 applies
 to
 visibly
 pregnant
 women,
 which
 seem
 to
 appear
 less
 authoritative.
 
 
  This
 was
 just
 a
 short
 summary
 of
 the
 result,
 which
 led
 the
 authors
 to
 the
 questions:
 
 
  Why
 would
 being
 a
 parent
 lead
 to
 disadvantages
 in
 the
 workplace
 for
 women?
 Why
 does
  this
 not
 apply
 to
 men?
 
 
  They
  did
  a
  laboratory
  experiment
  and
  an
  audit
  study
  of
  actual
  employers
  to
  find
  answers
  to
  these
  questions.
  In
  this
  commentary
  paper
  I
  want
  to
  focus
  on
  some
  single
  steps
  of
  their
  experiment,
  which
  I
  find
  interesting
  and
  in
  the
  end
  present
  my
  own
  thoughts
 about
 it.
 
  The
  laboratory
  experiment
  evaluates
  the
  thesis
  that
  there
  is
  tension
  between
  the
  motherhood
  role
  and
  the
  cultural
  understanding
  of
  the
  “ideal
  worker”
  role.
  It
  allows
  the
  authors
 to
 isolate
 and
 examine
 the
 mechanism
 of
 discrimination.
 For
 their
 results
 they
  reviewed
  the
  empirical
  literature
  on
  the
  motherhood
  wage
  penalty
  and
  existing
  explanations
 for
 it.
 
 The
 authors
 also
 did
 an
 audit
 study,
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