In a new study it has come that women are judged negatively in case they choose maternity leave and equally badly if they work on.
According to a study of workers’ attitudes conducted in the University of Exeter, mothers who took time off for their babies were seen as less committed and competent for their work. While those who continued their work were seen as less caring parents.
According to the results, women were ‘damned’ either way told lead author Thekla Morgenroth. “This is a no-win situation for women?” she said.
Morgenroth found that the results show that the maternity leave decision always impaired perceptions of competence whether it was work or family domain. Negative consequences were seen in both decisions, albeit in different domains.
“It is important to have policies which allow women to balance work and family life, but it’s also important to understand people’s use of these policies may have unintended consequences,” added Morgenroth.
For the study, attitudes of employed 137 women and 157 men mostly from US and UK were studied. Participants were divided into three groups and were given information about a fictional woman. The information differed on just one thing whether the woman had chosen to take maternity leave or not.
In one version she had taken leave, in another she had continued working, and in a third (control group) the issue was not mentioned.
Participants were then asked to evaluate the woman as a worker and a parent with negative family results for a woman who kept working, and negative working results for a woman who took maternity leave.
Majority of the participants were full-time workers (70%) and had no children (71%). Participants had an average age of 33 years.