Clarifying the Ideal Worker Norm: Workplace Evaluations of Women by Motherhood Status, Level of Involvement, and Race

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Principal investigator:

Kathleen Denny

University of Maryland

Email: kdenny@umd.edu

Homepage: http://www.socy.umd.edu/gradprofile/Denny/Kathleen


Sample size: 3081

Field period: 3/26/2013-09/6/2013

Hypotheses

1. How do interpretations of mothers in the workplace vary by their race/ethnicity?
2. How do interpretations of mothers in the workplace vary by their level of involvement with their children?
3. How do interpretations of mothers in the workplace vary the interaction between their race and involvement?
4. How do interpretations of mothers in the workplace vary by the characteristics of the perceivers, including their gender, parental status, and race?

Experimental Manipulations

Applicant's race (African-American, Latina, Asian, white)
Applicant's level of involvement with children (childless, nominal mother, less involved mother, highly involved mother)

Outcomes

Ratings of how hardworking, likable, and committed the applicant was expected to be, along with anticipated number of late days, the likelihood that the applicant would be hired, and a starting salary offer.

Summary of Results

Consistent with existing motherhood penalty studies, I found that highly involved mothers were rated as less hirable than childless women, after accounting for a protective likability factor. I did not, however, find that mothers identified as less involved with their children were evaluated any more favorably than either the childless or highly involved mother applicants. These patterns varied by race. Highly involved white mothers were evaluated least favorably, whereas Asian mothers were evaluated most favorably.

References

References

Denny, Kathleen. Dissertation Chapter. "Workplace Evaluations of Parents by Race: Unraveling Perceptual Penalties and Premiums." Preparing for journal submission.