Mothers are at a disadvantage in the U.S. economy.
The difference in average pay between childless women and mothers is greater than the gender gap between men and women, according to Prof. Shelley Correll, associate professor of sociology at Stanford University and the new director of its Clayman Institute for Gender Research.
She said mothers not only earn lower wages on average than childless women, but they face discrimination in hiring and are viewed as not only less committed to work outside the home, but less competent. The last surprises me. I would find it an extreme challenge to have to a household while taking care of children and, ideally, helping to shape them into responsible adults. Somebody who could do that could do a lot of other things well.
Mothers face other problems besides the attitude of employers. The United States is one of the few countries. and the only advanced industrial country, that does not guarantee a legal right to paid maternity leave. A recent Save the Children Federation report, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, said that the United States has a higher rate of child mortality than 40 other industrial nations. There is a 1 in 200 risk of pregnancy-related death, one of the worst rates in the industrial world.
Most of us Americans individually honor motherhood and family values. We ought to affirm those values as a society.
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