Mothers face high rates of workplace discrimination

| Apr 5, 2021 | Employment Law |

While being a mother is an important part of many women’s lives, it is not the way in which many of these women find fulfillment. Many mothers prefer to continue working after welcoming their children into the world. Unfortunately, they are often faced with systemic bias and discrimination when they return to work. 

Mothers are penalized 

Employers in Hawaii frequently treat mothers differently than fathers and women without children. Even when employers do give mothers equal work to their peers, they are usually paid less. Some of the more common examples of the motherhood penalty include being: 

  • Passed over for promotions 
  • Demoted 
  • Given low quality assignments that will not advance their careers 
  • Penalized for seeking flexible working schedules 

What does systemic bias look like? 

In 2018, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association — MCCA — conducted a study looking at how women felt they were treated in the workplace. According to the study, 56% of white mothers and 49% of mothers of color reported feeling like their peers’ perceptions of them changed after they had children. The study also found that 20% of all women were told by a colleague to leave the workforce after having children. Only 5% of white men reported having the same experience. 

Employers and co-workers alike often treat mothers as if they are not committed or are less competent. This type of discrimination often disrupts mothers’ career paths, pushing some out of the workforce altogether. Although it may feel like an impossible situation to address, many victims of workplace discrimination in Hawaii have found success in navigating legal claims against their employers.