The motherhood penalty refers to the disadvantages working moms experience including pay, raises, and even the ability to get hired.
Here's what you need to know if you are a working mom.
What is meant by the motherhood penalty?
It's the idea that working moms don't get paid as fairly as working dads or other women in their field.
As the name suggests, it's a penalty or bias just because you are a mom.
What are examples of motherhood penalty
- Working moms get passed up for new jobs.
- Working moms get paid less than equally qualified coworkers.
- Fewer chances for raises or career growth in a company.
How can I avoid motherhood penalty?
- First of all, do your research before applying for a company. Look into how they treat other women and moms who work for them.
- Know your worth, and be prepared to walk. Don't settle just because the company or HR is knowingly or unknowingly putting a penalty against you before they know your work ethic.
Is the motherhood penalty legal?
Technically, no. The Federal Discrimination Act of 1978 makes it illegal to discriminate based on pregnancy, childbirth, or other medical conditions, but unfortunately it would be hard to prove without concrete evidence.
Why is the motherhood penalty so detrimental for working moms?
For starters, a lot of women are choosing their careers over having kids. When the reality is, they should be able to do both.
Also, a lot of expecting moms are worried to tell their employers about their pregnancy because of this unspoken motherhood penalty.
When it's a working dad, no one bats an eye.
What about work from home moms?
Work from home moms aren't safe from this motherhood penalty either. In fact, it might actually be worse because some employers think you aren't going to work as hard or as well when you are at home with young kids.
If 2020 taught us anything, it's that many moms had to learn how to juggle childcare/homeschool and working from home.
And, they did.
My own story
I love LinkedIn for connecting with other like-minded individuals in my industry. A few months back, I received a job offer from a company who will remain nameless.
In their initial salary proposal, it was 20% less than their job posting for the same exact position.
Needless to say, I turned it down.