‘Worst Career Mistake’: Having Children

“One of the worst career mistakes a woman can make is to have children.”

So began an article in this Sundays New York Times based largely on a recent study by Michelle Budig, a sociology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Needless to say, the story caught my attention.

It went on to say that mothers are the least likely to be hired for jobs, to be perceived as competent at work or to be paid as much as their male colleagues with the same qualifications.

On the other hand, being a father is good for men’s careers. They are more likely to be hired than childless men, and tend to be paid more after they have children.

According to the article, this situation is based on old fashioned perceptions that dads will work harder to support a family while mothers become less productive.

The study found that on average, men’s earnings rose more than 6 percent when they had children (if they lived with the children), while women’s decreased by 4 percent for each child.

And here’s the most significant part: These differences apply even after controlling for factors such as the hours people work, the types of jobs they choose and the salaries of their spouses.

All this at at a time when 71 percent of mothers with children at home work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and are the sole or primary breadwinner in 40 percent  of households with children.

Hard to believe that after all these years, this attitude and disparity remain in place.