“Mom-Cession:” Married Mothers Find It Harder To Find A New Job [Study]

Married mothers are having a harder time finding a new job than their male counterparts, TIME reports. While more men lost their jobs than women in the recession, women are faring worse in the job hunt. Women who are married with children are not only experiencing a larger gap between jobs, but they are also less likely to find a new job at all, and will earn a considerable amount less than married fathers.

The trend has sparked a new term: “mom-cession.” Study co-author Brian Serafini, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Washington, said, “There does appear to be a motherhood penalty.” Even after a control for education level and past jobs and earnings, mothers are having a harder time in their job search, but the study gets a little complicated when children are involved.

Serafini and Michelle Maroto, his co-author, originally found no gender differences when looking at how long it took people to find a new job. But when they broke the groupings down even further into single and married, children and no children, the conclusions changed significantly. Married women with children who lost their jobs between 2007 and 2009 had a 31 percent lower chance of finding new employment than married fathers with children.

On the other hand, single women with no children took less time to find new jobs than single men without children. They had a 29 percent greater chance of finding a new job than their male counterparts.

The study also found that in a 2010 survey, married mothers earned $175 less a week, or $9,000 less a year, than married fathers.

Maroto, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Alberta, said,

“Our study provides evidence of labor market discrimination against women whose family decisions may signal to employers a lack of commitment to the workplace.”

Serafini said the fact that married men were faring better than unmarried men was “consistent with the male breadwinner stereotype in that employers favor male heads of households when they are supporting children.”

Serafini and Maroto will be presenting their research Monday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver.

Brad Harrington, executive director of the Center for Work and Family at Boston College, said the solution to the pay discrepancies is to have more men involved in caregiving. While the number of stay-at-home dads has doubled in the last decade, it’s still only 3.4 percent. Harrington says if this happens, less people will assume that a woman’s job performance will suffer because of her family obligations, but that it’s “going to be a long time coming.”

What do you think of the “mom-cession”?