Monthly Archives

August 2018

Research Findings

Which professional jobs are better for mothers?

August 20, 2018

Compared to other workers, mothers face a number of disadvantages, including lower wages, bias in recruitment and promotion, and a greater risk of joblessness. These disadvantages may be more prevalent in professional jobs where ‘ideal worker’ norms are most salient. Professional employers tend to view mothers as less competent and committed than other workers—a major stigma in careers that require around-the-clock dedication.

These biases are so strong that employers often discriminate against mothers irrespective of their experience, skill or job commitment.

Our own research has shown that employers use a variety of strategies to shed, demote and otherwise marginalize professional mothers, including screening mothers out of the recruitment process or channeling them into positions with lower pay, prestige and responsibility.

But little is known about which kinds of professional jobs are better—or worse—for working mothers.

What role does job context play in shaping professional mothers’ access to highly skilled professional jobs? In a recent study we sought to answer this question. Our analysis drew on 51 in-depth interviews with employers in two professional sectors in Hungary: finance and business services. These two sectors allowed us to compare the ways job context shapes recruitment and hiring norms and practices.

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Research Findings

How rising income inequality exacerbates racial economic disparities

August 7, 2018

Fifty years after the civil rights movement, racial economic inequality remains a major fact of American life. In fact, the gap in family income between blacks and whites has been almost perfectly constant since the 1960s.

In a recent study, I show that the persistence of the racial income gap results from two opposing trends. Over the last 50 years there has been real if incomplete progress towards racial equality in income ranks negated by the national trend of rising income inequality overall.

In 1968, just after the Civil Rights Movement, the median African American had family income 57% that of the median white American. In 2016, the ratio was 56%. The utter lack of progress is striking.

It’s also a bit puzzling, because real efforts were made to reduce discrimination in employment and equalize access to education and other resources needed to succeed in the United States.

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