When women encounter severe bias once they have children
Maternal Wall is the strongest and most open form of gender bias. It stems from
stereotypes that link motherhood with lack of competence and commitment. The leading
study on maternal wall stereotypes found that, compared to women with identical
resumes but no children, mothers were:
Bias against mothers stems not only from assumptions about what mothers are like,
but also from assumptions about how mothers should behave. Even today, women often
encounter statements indicating that mothers don’t belong in the workplace. Such
statements can either be hostile (“Mothers belong at home”) or benevolent, (“I assumed
she didn’t want the fellowship because she just had a baby).”
These scenarios illustrate the Maternal Wall stereotype bias (or lack of it). These
scenarios are based on information from surveys and focus groups of faculty women.
After learning about all four gender bias patterns, take our Gender Bias Quiz to
see how much you’ve learned. Click here.
Watch experts describe the Maternal Wall bias.
Watch experts suggest how to survive the Maternal Wall bias.