What The Readings Inquire About Gender and Household Responsibilities

Contemporary cultural beliefs about the mother role include a normative expectation that mothers will and should engage in “intensive” mothering that prioritizes meeting the needs of dependent children above all other activities

The cultural norm that mothers should always be on call for their children coexists in tension with another widely held normative belief in our society that the “ideal worker” be unencumbered by competing demands and be “always there” for his or her employer

mother leaves early to attend to children, while the father leaves early to meet clients.

Motherhood affects perceptions of competence and commitment because contradictory schemas govern conceptions of “family devotion” and “work devotion”

What evidence is offered as an answer to their questions or in support of their claims?

By considering the results of these two companion studies simultaneously, however, we find support for the status-based discrimination mechanism using the laboratory data, and we see the real-world implications of the argument with data generated from the audit study.

dimension, cultural beliefs about the relative effort that social groups exert in task situations can also be the basis for forming differentiated performance expectations. Indeed, some of the earliest descriptions and examples of status characteristics relied on the idea that anticipated effort impacts performance expectations (

cultural beliefs do associate motherhood with a lessening of ability (

The cultural logic of “intensive” mothering in U.S. society today assumes that the “good mother” will direct her time and emotional energy toward her children without limit

ur main empirical predictions are that job applicants who are presented as mothers will be rated as less competent, less committed to paid work, less suitable for hire and promotion, and deserving of lower starting salaries compared with otherwise equal women who are not mothers. We expect that the competence and commitment ratings will mediate the evaluation variables.

Is the evidence offered sufficient? What else might be useful to know? Could alternative accounts explain the results?

Emprical , Anderson et al. (2003) find that human capital, occupational, and household resource variables (e.g., number of adults in the household) collectively account for 24% of the total wage penalty for one child and 44% for women with two or more children. Likewise, Waldfogel and Meyer

This article presents a laboratory experiment and an audit study of actual employers. The laboratory experiment evaluates the hypothesis that the “motherhood penalty” on wages and evaluations of workplace performance and suitability occurs, at least partially, because cultural understandings of the motherhood role exist in tension with the cultural understandings of the “ideal worker” role.

While the laboratory experiment allows us to isolate and examine the mechanism of discrimination, the audit study provides external validity by evaluating whether actual employers discriminate against mothers.

How does the paper relate to other readings, concepts, and theories from this class?

What do these readings suggest about how best to support women leaders moving forward?

The cultural norm that mothers should always be on call for their children coexists in tension with another widely held normative belief in our society that the “ideal worker” be unencumbered by competing demands and be “always there” for his or her employer

ontemporary cultural beliefs about the mother role include a normative expectation that mothers will and should engage in “intensive” mothering that prioritizes meeting the needs of dependent children above all other activities

If motherhood is a devalued status in workplace settings, we predict that mothers will be judged by a harsher standard than nonmothers. They will have to present evidence of greater ability before being seen as competent.

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