Mum penalty

The mum penalty hitting working women

New US study finds mothers are earning $11k less for being mums, and are being discriminated against.

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Motherhood, it’s something that’s reducing the salaries of many women, but should we really be going all silent about the mum penalty?

This decision by many women to go silent to their bosses or clients on the ins-and-outs of motherhood has come about because of years spent struggling for workplace equality and fighting the discrimination that hurts pay packets and promotions.

Indeed a new study in the United States, found that mothers are viewed as being less competent and committed than other workers.

What’s more, it’s women without children, who are more likely to be the harshest critics of mothers, even more so than men.

Those same mothers surveyed in the report: Getting a Job: Is There a Motherhood Penalty? were also found to be getting paid $US11,000 less than women without children, while Dads are getting paid $US2000 more.

It’s these facts that force many mum’s to go quiet on what they shouldn’t: Motherhood.

It was brought home to me yesterday after chatting with one of my girlfriends.

She’s decided that her male boss really doesn’t understand the needs of a working family, and therefore it’s better to just keep quiet about sick days due to a child, early pick ups, and other important childhood milestones that require days off.

This going silent irritates me to no end, but I get it.

In fact, it’s the same reason why I, as a mum-to-be for the third time, won’t be marking my out off office emails with “MATERNITY LEAVE” in three weeks time.

I’m absolutely proud of being a mum, but let’s be real… as a business owner I won’t be taking maternity leave, I’ll still be checking emails, still be managing money and will still be trying to do the mad juggle as well as I can.

What’s crazy is that for all the juggling and multi-tasking that women do, many of us still feel judged to a harsher standard than many other co-workers.

But is this real? It seems so.

The Motherhood report also found that mums were held to harsher performance and punctuality standards than Dads and non-mothers.

They were also judged as being about 10 per cent less competent and about 15 per cent less committed than women without children.

Plus, mothers were also allowed significantly fewer times of being late to work, and they needed a significantly higher score on the management exam than nonmothers before being considered hirable.

What’s interesting about this US report is the gender difference and the advantages of being a Dad.

The report noted that: “In fact, fathers were actually advantaged on some of these measures.

“For example, applicants who were fathers were rated significantly more committed to their job than nonfathers.

“Fathers were allowed to be late to work significantly more times than nonfathers.

“Finally, they were offered significantly higher salaries than nonfathers.”

But men are not necessarily to blame here for this workplace parenting inequality.

The report also noted that women without children “held all female applicants to a slightly harsher standard than male participants” when it came to being late.

On all other variables, men and women were found to be equality as discriminatory against mothers in the workforce.

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