In the quest to have it all, a career and a family, some women are being left behind, according to a new study featured in the Harvard Business Review.
The study found that stay-at-home moms returning to work were half as likely to receive a job interview than women who had been unemployed for the same period of time. Similarly, stay-at-home dads were around half as likely to get a job interview than unemployed men.
“Given that employers have rigid expectations for employees to dedicate themselves fully to work, violating these ideal worker norms by demonstrating a prioritization of family evokes a moral evaluation of applicants’ work-family choices,” UNC researcher and assistant professor of sociology Katherine Weisshaar said in her study. “Potential employers thus perceive opting out as indicating lower dedication to work and, as a result, view opt out applicants as less worthy of a job.”
Employers’ stigma of stay-at-home parents finds its way inside many career paths, including those of professors at universities and in parental leave policies.
Johna Register-Mihalik, an assistant professor of exercise and sport science, had a positive experience with UNC’s parental leave policies when she took leave for a semester after her son was born last year and a few years before that with her daughter. However, she said some faculty members in other departments have a more difficult time taking time off and coming back to work.