Examples of the Ways in Which Men Are Rewarded for Being Fathers and Women Are Punished for Being Mothers in the Workplace
Mothers are less likely to be hired for jobs, to be perceived as competent at work or to be paid as much as their male colleagues with the same qualifications.
Part of this is due to the fact that gender roles are lagging behind labor force trends. While women represent nearly half of the U.S. workforce, they still devote more time than men on average to housework and child care and fewer hours to paid work, although the gap has narrowed significantly over time. Among working parents of children younger than 18, mothers in 2013 spent an average of 14.2 hours per week on housework, compared with fathers’ 8.6 hours.
Notably, these parenthood effects vary across countries ranging from very large effects in gender conservative countries such as Austria and Germany, to very small effects in social democratic countries, such as Sweden. In considering the role of nationalized work-family policies and the motherhood penalty, our research indicates that publicly funded childcare, particularly for children aged 0 to 2 years, is associated with smaller penalties, while extended parental leaves (up to 3 years in Germany), are associated with larger wage penalties for mothers. Clearly, public policy related to work-family issues can impact earnings disparities for parenthood. What these policies may entail in the American context is an important debate American policymakers must address.
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The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Public Law 103-3 Enacted February 5, 1993. [Accessed on 31 March 2008]. Available at: http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/statutes/whd/fmla.htm .
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