For those mothers in academia, do you/did you perceive a motherhood penalty either in graduate school or on the job market? I just heard the author of this paper speak this week, and what was presented painted a bleak picture. While this paper had already pointed out a wage penalty for mothers, the argument put forth has been critiqued from a number of angles – differences in human capital, selection bias, etc. But now we know – according to experimental and audit data – that mothers, although equally qualified to non-mothers, are less likely to be hired, less likely to be judged as competent, and receive less pay when hired. As summed up by this commenter on the ABC site:
I love this article, and from the comments, it’s really shows the sense of entitlement working mothers feel towards their employers. I personally am glad Moms are feeling a job bias, there’s a good reason for it. I work as a computer programmer, and most of my co-workers are male. In the few instances I’ve had to work on a project with a working mother, it never fails that she’s unwilling to put in the hours needed. I worked with a woman who refused to work past 6, even if the rest of her male co-workers were working until at least 11 and forget about weekend work, she wouldn’t even answer her phone on the weekends, and was unapologetic that she was off on ‘mommy duty’ when the rest of the team was stuck in the office every weekend for a month. Her priorities where her kids, and was unapologetic that she was dumping all her work on her male co-workers. Of course, when she was let go, she claimed discrimination. There’s a reason so many companies don’t even want to hire American programmers, too many Americans have no work ethic compared to all the Asian immigrants who are desperate to come here and work 15 hour days without complaining. Luckily I now work at a company where overtime is required and so far no working mommies have applied, what a surprise.
(Not sure where the Americans vs. Asians come into the argument…)
But the evidence of discrimination with experimental and audit data, not the actual experiences of real mothers, and not mothers in academia. So my question is, for mothers in academia, what has been your experience as a mother? Many of you became mothers after already being in academia – how did things change? I’m asking because I’ve only been a mother in graduate school – I don’t know what the non-mother experience is like to compare to the mother experience. But I have some ideas…I’ll wait to post them until after I’ve heard from you.