Motherhood Needn't Stand In The Way Of Promotions And Pay Raises

There’s a debate in workplaces about whether women who have children are subject to a professional disadvantage that other female co-workers don’t face. It’s called the motherhood penalty because mothers are said to be paid less, have fewer promotions, get smaller raises and be viewed as less reliable than women (and especially men) without children. There is some movement to change employment laws to specifically protect parents, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit around and hope lawmakers protect your career.

There are ways women can proactively immunize themselves if they believe they are facing the motherhood penalty.

The truth is, working mothers juggle two full-time jobs. There are only 24 hours in each day, and sometimes the penalty arises because choices are made to prioritize the job at home over the job in the office. While it might seem unfair, such choices often give employers the perception that a parent’s commitment is lacking.

But it is a choice. It is OK to be a full-time mother. It is OK to be fully committed to a career path. And it is OK — and possible — to do both without derailing either.

For women who fear facing financial or career penalties while parenting, it is important to be proactive. As with all career goals, the key is setting realistic expectations and communicating them effectively to others. Think of these following six points as a guide:

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Posted on March 3, 2014 .