What Is the Motherhood Penalty?
The motherhood penalty is a term coined by sociologists to explain the wide chasm in employment outcomes between mothers and fathers. The motherhood penalty is real. Men get raises when they have children, but women do not: mothers working full time earn approximately 71% to 76% of what fathers earn. Mothers are perceived to be less committed, less competent, less productive, and therefore less deserving of high wages.
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Facts About the Motherhood Penalty
Americans admit to being hugely prejudiced against working mothers. A study found that 41% of employed Americans perceive working moms to be less devoted to their work and 38% judge them for needing flexible schedules. The same study found that a shocking 72% of working parents agree that women are penalized in their careers for starting families, while men are not.
Many women clearly perceive that pregnancy discrimination is real. 21% of women would be worried to tell their boss they were expecting a child—a figure that has almost doubled since 2014. Women are becoming more nervous to tell their boss about their pregnancy because they know the consequences it may have on their careers. But where is pregnancy discrimination’s #metoo moment?