“Maybe Baby” expectations motivate employee disrespect and work withdrawal
Pregnancy is…a wonderful thing for the woman, it’s a wonderful thing for the husband, it’s certainly an inconvenience for a business. -Donald Trump, President of the United States
Childless working women report more disrespect (e.g., being interrupted or ignored) from colleagues and supervisors than childless men, especially in organisations that offer more maternal leave than paternal leave. These uncivil experiences at work also predict employees' career withdrawal one year later.
Comparison to the General View of the Topic
A wealth of research has highlighted mothers’ many employment disadvantages compared to childless women and men; however, "actual motherhood is not necessary for young women to experience motherhood penalties” concludes study author Dr. Jamie L. Gloor. Although maternal leave is ostensibly intended to benefit working women (e.g., enhance their economic returns and job security), this might come at the cost of their social mistreatment. Finally, states Dr. Gloor, "targeting female leaders and professors for study or intervention is too late if women have already withdrawn at an earlier career stage."
Two waves of quantitative survey data were collected one year apart from 474 early career academics (i.e., PhD and post-doctoral students, assistant professors) from all federal and cantonal universities in Switzerland.
"Maybe baby” expectations–highlighted by the organizational inconveniences that pregnancy may entail–may be another explanation for the gender gap in leadership and professorships. Thus, "to retain highly educated women in the workforce, reduce "brain drain" and turnover costs,” recommends Dr. Gloor, “parental leave should also be available to male employees."
*This paper was recently honored with the "Emerald Best Paper Based on a Dissertation Award" at the 2017 Academy of Management Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, as well as being included in the 2017 Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings.