Head of the research group "Work and Care", Berlin Social Science Center (WZB); Visiting Scholar, CES, Harvard University
February 21, 2018
12:15pm - 1:45pm
Hoffmann Room, Adolphus Busch Hall
Lena Hipp will present a study that examines how changes in the traditional division of labor affect the likelihood of mothers and fathers of getting a job. Can women overcome motherhood penalties by quickly returning to their jobs after childbirth? Do employers discriminate against fathers who take extended family leave? By evaluating some unique features of the parental leave system and job application process in Germany, this study shows that the likelihood of fathers getting a job is not affected by the length of their leave but that mothers who quickly return to their job after childbirth are penalized by employers. In a field experiment, the study found that mothers who only take the mandatory leave of two months are 50 percent less likely to be invited to a job interview than mothers who stay home for a year after childbirth. There is, however, no difference between fathers with short vs. long leave. The laboratory experiment shows that these unequal effects have to do with the fact that the evaluations of fathers are multifaceted but that mothers who “lean in” and “act like men” violate prevailing parenthood norms. Employers discriminate against these mothers for normative reasons and not out of considerations regarding their future productivity.