Why the worst career decision for women is the best for men

Publish Date
Monday, 27 February 2017, 1:03PM

There's a career decision that can be made that is the single worst decision for women.

Having a baby.

And you know what is one of the best for a dude's resume?

Having a baby.

It's a crazy paradox that - according to research - exists. This means that when a woman becomes a mother, it holds her career back. It means she's seen as a less valuable employee in the eyes of those who work with her. But when a man becomes a father, his new-found responsibility actually works in his favour.

This penalty for mothers has been proven time and time again but recently researchers have also noted how becoming a father is actually positively affecting men.

Shelley Correll, Professor of Sociology at Cornell University, sent out hundreds of fake CVs to prospective employers. The CVs were identical except for two things. First, half of them had a man’s name and half of them a woman’s. Second, half the CVs — both the men and the women’s — included a line that implied they were a parent. That line was something like being the coach of an under 10s soccer team or a member of the P and C.

The results were staggering. Women with children were 50 per cent less likely to get a response from an employer. Men with children were slightly more likely than any other applicant to get a call back for interview.

When Correll reproduced a similar experiment in laboratory settings, mothers were offered salaries of around $11,000 less than women without children. Fathers were offered salaries of around $2000 more.


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It seems that when a woman has a baby, it's assumed she will be less reliable and committed and therefore less effective as an employee. When a man has a baby it is assumed he is more responsible, more stable and more dependable at work.

There is already a gender pay gap between men and women and this just adds salt to that wound! 

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