Have You Been Affected By The “Motherhood Penalty?”

Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or work outside the home, there are always too many things to accomplish – and often little recognition for all you do.

Balancing motherhood with having a career can be very stressful as we juggle multiple responsibilities and are often torn between work and home.

Now, one study shows just how difficult it can be for working moms, and the results are downright shameful.

Romper.com reported:

Researchers from the universities of Bath and Turin, plus the National Research Council of Italy, examined a decade of data on 262 male and female Turin-based academics’ careers. And they explained that female academics “face motherhood citation penalty,” according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which means that motherhood is evidently linked to a drop in citations. But it’s not just in Italy; the authors believe that their research has applications across a range of academic disciplines and in countries including the United States, the U.K., and China, where the allocation of research funding is also linked to management of elite networks, according to a university summary of the findings.

This study is interesting because it does not focus on earnings discrepancies between men and women, but on the levels of recognition working moms receive in comparison to their counterparts without children.

And it shows a shocking bias against moms.

The study’s primary focus was on academic citations – recognition and status more than pay – but it appears that fathers are actually cited more often than their counterparts without children.

Romper.com continued:

The results suggest that male academics with small children got 28 percent more citations than male academics without small children. But women with small children had their work cited less than childfree women.

The results could perhaps be partially explained by stereotypical family roles, as “young fathers [take] on the role of the ‘breadwinner’ and their partners the domestic role,” according to “The Funding-Productivity Nexus in Science: Family and Other Sources of Endogeneity,” recently presented at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference. And because mothers are often tasked with the “domestic role,” they may find themselves inundated with too many family obligations to promote their academic work, the researchers added, according to the university summary of the findings.

The results that show fathers excelling in their careers as compared to single men may have something to do with wanting to be the main financial provider for the family or a couple’s decision to start a family once dad feels “their career is safely established.”

While both parents typically share family responsibilities, moms are most often the primary caregivers of the children – whether working outside the home or not – and often handle many of the other day-to-day household tasks.

Parenting.com reported:

Working mothers spend on average about 10 hours more per week multitasking (doing typical chores like making dinner or doing laundry, while also talking to their kids and helping with homework) than working fathers do, the study found. Shira Offer, the study’s lead author, said, “our findings provide support for the popular notion that women are the ultimate multitaskers and suggest that the emotional experience of multitasking is very different for mothers and fathers.”

The study also found that moms are more reluctant to travel for extended periods of time due to their desire to be home with their children.  The necessity of networking through extensive travel seems to be part of the problem – and many moms cannot be available for extended work hours or late meetings.

Romper.com continued:

The challenge of travel to international conferences and meetings to promote research findings alongside childcare responsibility is at the heart of the motherhood penalty, leaving quality research overlooked,” co-author Cornelia Lawson, a researcher at Bath’s School of Management, said in the university summary. She added that the research highlights the need for support systems for women with childcare responsibilities.

In this digital age, it is hard to comprehend that mothers who wish to make their children a priority are penalized.  With so many opportunities to network with colleagues online, there should be no reason that either parent should have to put in so many hours away from home to be successful.

Women should also be able to be successful in their careers while still maintaining a traditional role as wife and mother without facing penalties or setbacks.

What do you think of the results of this study?  Do you feel you’ve ever been penalized in the workplace for putting your family first?  Leave us your thoughts.




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