Married Moms Faced More Hardships During Recession

Working mom

August 20, 2012

Among laid-off workers, married moms had it hardest during the recent recession, causing some to dub it a "mom-cession." Results from a study showed job-displaced, married moms were overall less apt to land new jobs and took longer to do so than married dads.

Furthermore, according to, once these women got new jobs, they earned less than their male counterparts. In 2010, married moms earned $175 less per week on average than newly-hired married dads. For full-time, year-round employment, this equated to a loss of about $9,100 annually.

"These findings hold true across different backgrounds, such as occupation, earnings and work history," study co-author Brian Serafini, a University of Washington sociology graduate student, told "This implies that laid-off moms aren't just taking part-time jobs or seeing being laid off as a way to opt out of the workforce and embrace motherhood instead."

For the study, Serafini and co-author Michelle Maroto, an assistant professor in the sociology department at the University of Alberta, analyzed U.S. Census Burea data on nearly 4,400 displaced workers who took an average of 17 weeks to find new jobs. Data was collected in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 as part of the Current Population Survey. Researchers found mothers experienced a "penalty" while fathers received a "bonus."

"Our study provides evidence of labor market discrimination against women whose family decisions may signal to employers a lack of commitment to the workplace," said Maroto in

The data, however, didn't reveal why it was this way for moms, but Maroto suggested that findings from past studies may offer the reason, according to Life Inc. Employers often make hiring decisions based on the stereotypical notion that moms put their families before their work and, therefore, won't be as dedicated to their jobs or as available as dads.

The findings of a 2008 study, however, refuted that assumption, TIME reported. The Families and Work Institute's National Study of the Changing Workforce revealed women, both with and without children, are equally driven, and women contribute 45 percent of family income.

To avoid being penalized when applying for work, Maroto suggested moms not mention anything about their families, reported Life Inc.

"What I'd say to mothers with children is that you don't necessarily have to disclose your personal details when you're applying for a job," she said. "It's definitely not something you want to indicate on your resume."

The study also revealed that single women without children had a 29 percent greater chance of getting re-employed than single men without children, TIME noted. However, when re-hired both genders experienced a similar drop in pay.

"These results help explain some of the apparent losses for certain men during the recent recession, by revealing that the he-cession story seems to apply more to single, childless men when compared to single, childless women," Maroto said in

Compiled by Doresa Banning


"Longer Time to Find New Job, Less Pay for Moms Laid Off During Recession,", August 17, 2012

"Moms are Bearing the Brunt of Recession, Study Shows,", August 17, 2012, Linda Carroll

"The Motherhood Penalty: We're in the Midst of a 'Mom-Cession',", August 17, 2012, Bonnie Rochman

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