20 Correll et al - Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood...

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AJS Volume 112 Number 5 (March 2007): 1297–1338 1297 q 2007 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. 0002-9602/2007/11205-0001$10.00 Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood Penalty? 1 Shelley J. Correll, Stephen Benard, and In Paik Cornell University Survey research Fnds that mothers suffer a substantial wage penalty, although the causal mechanism producing it remains elusive. The authors employed a laboratory experiment to evaluate the hypoth- esis that status-based discrimination plays an important role and an audit study of actual employers to assess its real-world implications. In both studies, participants evaluated application materials for a pair of same-gender equally qualiFed job candidates who differed on parental status. The laboratory experiment found that mothers were penalized on a host of measures, including perceived compe- tence and recommended starting salary. Men were not penalized for, and sometimes beneFted from, being a parent. The audit study showed that actual employers discriminate against mothers, but not against fathers. Mothers experience disadvantages in the workplace in addition to those commonly associated with gender. ±or example, two recent studies Fnd that employed mothers in the United States suffer a per-child wage penalty of approximately 5%, on average, after controlling for the usual human capital and occupational factors that affect wages (Budig and England 2001; Anderson, Binder, and Krause 2003). In a summary of economic research, Crittenden (2001) concludes that, for those under the age of 35, the pay gap between mothers and nonmothers is larger than the pay gap between men and women. As Glass (2004) notes, employed mothers are 1 We thank Pi-Chun Hsu, Devah Pager, Cecilia Ridgeway, Cate Taylor, Lisa Troyer, Kim Weeden, and Robb Willer for helpful comments and suggestions, and Maysha Artis, Monica Celedon, Heather ±erguson, Adrienne Gallet, Kim Gillece, Kathryn Heley, Shari Moseley, Shana Platz, Connor Puleo, Kristin Seeger, and Michael Stein for capable research assistance. Support for this research was provided by a grant to the Frst author from the Alfred P. Sloan ±oundation. Direct correspondence to Shelley J. Correll, Department of Sociology, 323 Uris Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853. E-mail: sjc62@cornell.edu
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American Journal of Sociology 1298 the group of women that now account for most of the “gender gap” in wages. The disadvantages are not limited to pay. Cuddy, Fiske, and Glick (2004) show that describing a consultant as a mother leads evaluators to rate her as less competent than when she is described as not having children. Similarly, other studies show that visibly pregnant women man- agers are judged as less committed to their jobs, less dependable, and less authoritative, but warmer, more emotional, and more irrational than oth- erwise equal women managers who are not visibly pregnant (Halpert, Wilson, and Hickman 1993; Corse 1990). While the pattern is clear, the underlying mechanism remains opaque. Why would being a parent lead to disadvantages in the workplace for women? And why might similar disadvantages not occur for men?
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20 Correll et al - Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood...

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