Check out this research. It is not the first I have read about how childfree can be discriminated in the workplace. Madelyn Cain deals with it in her book the Childless Revolution, and here some more recent research by UK researcher Dr. Caroline Gatrell. She spent six years researching women in the workplace, and explains in the article , “Childless Women vilified by boss’: Why NOT having a family could ruin your career” that “Women who explicitly choose career over kids are often vilified at work and face enormously unjust treatment.” Childfree women have told me that …
..not having kids by choice can often be seen negatively in the workplace and it does not help them get promoted. Not wanting kids can be viewed as a certain unwillingness to to take on responsibility or lack of maturity. Supposedly, having a family also evidences that women can effectively multitask (and not have them shows they can’t?). I wonder men’s choice not to have kids impacts them negatively in the workplace…Men having a family can imply stability–so if they don’t does it mean they are not? Hardly.
For women, it’s a double edged sword. If we are seen as of child-bearing age we can also be overlooked for more senior roles because employers may assume we will be having a baby and when we do, it will impact our ability to take on a senior role effectively. As Sr. Gatrell points out: ‘Women with children are blamed for combining motherhood with paid work – and women with no children are sidelined and discounted because they are not mothers.’
It seems the issue goes beyond whether women have children or not. Women still face more hurdles to be treated equitably, mothers or not.
What do you think? What has been your experience?