From an article in the Denver Post:
A landmark study by Cornell University has quantified what many working mothers have suspected for years: Women with children are less likely to get hired and are paid less in starting salaries than similarly qualified fathers or women without children. This disparity often follows them throughout their careers...
[At the start of the study, the researcher] created two fictitious applicants seeking a job as a marketing director for a communications company. Both had virtually identical qualifications and resumes with no indication of gender or family status. The applications were presented to 60 undergraduates - both men and women - for evaluation. The reviewers found the applicants to be equal and said they had no hiring preference.
Correll used undergraduates because she believed them to be most closely attuned to the current hiring climate. She also assumed they had been raised in an age when sensibilities about working mothers had changed.
Next, the same resumes were shown to another set of undergraduate evaluators. This time, though, the applicants were both women.
A memo was slipped into one of the application packets mentioning she was a mother of two. Her resume was changed slightly to include a reference to being an officer of a parent-teacher association.
The outcome changed dramatically. The evaluators said they would hire the childless women 84 percent of the time. The mothers were given a job only 47 percent of the time.
The mothers also were offered a starting salary of $11,000 less than their counterparts without children.
The author of the study, Shelley Correll, then "created 300 pairs of cover letters and resumes to apply for advertised midlevel marketing positions. One 'applicant' said in her cover letter she was relocating with her family. The resume mentioned the parent-teacher board position. The other cover letter said the 'applicant' was relocating but made no mention of a family. Early results of this study show the applicant who did not mention a family was called in for an interview twice as frequently as the mother." Later in the article, an HR executive "speculates the tightening job market is giving potential employers a sense they have the upper hand and are more free in their questioning than they would have been a few years ago. She also wonders if there is a backlash brewing against mothers - and increasingly, fathers - who have demanded more flexibility from companies to be with their families."
We already knew this, of course. I wonder: what if someone applied the same test to male applicants? If anybody knows of such a study, let me know.
I have no comment, really, beyond the obvious call for revolution.