Mother Versus Father: Analytical Review of Stereotypes

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England, Descartes and Collier-Meek (2011) defines gender as a built up of influences, both social and cultural as a person grows and experiences the world in which it is born. They state that gender is dependent on numerous factors that can play a vital role in how it is shaped and defined. In the present, it has been found that there are various stereotypes on how a person should act based on their gender. England, Descartes and Collier-Meek (2011) explains stereotypes as “a beliefs about the characteristics, attributes, and behaviours of members of certain groups and most of them are sociocultural based.” Men and women are stereotyped in the society as well as their workplaces, often this stereotyping is seen to worsen in cases where these workers are also parents. This issue of parents being stereotyped in the work forces are in both cases of mothers and fathers which can also lead to various consequences such as men are described as strong-minded, independent, and aggressive, while women are perceived as sympathetic, helpful, and kind.

Mothers are mostly stereotyped as inhospitable and often penalized in the workforce as being less competent, less committed, and less employable or promotable in the workplace. New York Times (2014) states that mothers are less likely to get hired for jobs even if they got the same qualification as the male colleagues. A lot of these really effects the cultural bias against mothers. According to Stamarski and Hing (2015) due to the gender stereotype employees think that mothers work less and are easily distracted while at work. Which negatively affects women in many opportunities such as workplace discrimination and sexist comments. For example; employers assume that mothers will work for few hours after they have children and this may result in reducing the expectations of success for women (Burgess, 2013).

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Fathers do not have it easy either and are stereotyped very strongly in the workforce as being more committed and reliable towards their workforce as compared to the mothers in the same profession. Wade (2017) states that fathers are seen to work harder by giving more time and focus on their jobs so that they can get to higher positions quicker. She also explains that they do so because they believe that his role to his children is measured by how much he earns. Wade (2017) also evidences this by a study that shows that fathers were twice as likely to get hired as compared to mothers. Whereas having children for men is a good thing as they get paid more and also get promotion more often. Budig and Hodges (2010) states that people assume that men who have children are easily assumed to be loyal and dependable by the employer. They claim that fatherhood was thought to change a man into a more valuable worker.

Workplace Gender Equality Agency (2016) describes that women at work are treated very differently if they are pregnant or have given birth. It states that they are deemed less worthy for promotions when compared to other childless women and are also kept away from any training and developments which otherwise would have been available to them if they had not been pregnant or had a child. Workplace Gender Equality Agency (2016) elaborates that women tend to go to less paid jobs that are more suitable to their new role to their mothers rather than their capabilities which go to waste. Moreover, because of this they also loose 17% of their lifetime wage. In contributing factors to the gender pay gap, being a female is the strongest individual as this has become a particularly apparent for women who have children.

In the case of fathers, Budig and Hodges (2010) states that fatherhood is added bonus to the men as it increases their value in the eyes of the employer. They state that even when applying for jobs, they were seen to have a much higher chance of hearing back as compared to childless men as well as the mothers. Budig and Hodges (2010) also point out that research shows fatherhood to bring men an increase in their bonus as well. For instance, men’s work hours and earnings increase more when their wives do not work continuously following a birth or when wives continue work after a birth.

As a result, Employers are incorrect in their assumptions about women, as a mother, who put in less work than man or get distracted by thoughts of children and home.


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