Sexism, or Downgrading Working Mothers

Added on by Frammitz.
Shall we just assume that they are all on the Mommy Track?

Shall we just assume that they are all on the Mommy Track?

Sexism is so pervasive that we often do not recognize it. It's time to stop wincing and pretending it's okay.

Other –isms are much more egregious to our ears, much more recognizable. Racism is so harsh to the listener that you hear a lot less of it than you did 30 years ago. It’s still there. It’s gotten better, but also it’s gotten quieter.

An –ism is what happens when you characterize an entire group of people in simplistic terms and judge an individual based on those terms. An –ism doesn’t have to be cruel, just impersonal, in order to objectify the person being judged. For example:

When a woman becomes a mother, her attention is diverted from her job and she becomes less effective. Often, she cannot stand the separation and quits her job entirely. If she does not, she is typically called away physically or mentally often enough that she no longer qualifies for promotions, particularly ones that might involve travel. Between taking sick days to take care of her children and not working late because she wants to be with her kids, it makes sense that her career transitions to a holding pattern at best.

Many people can read that paragraph and nod appreciatively. They are sexist. They have taken a characteristic that they perceive to be true for a group of people and judge individuals accordingly. Try this on for size:

When a man becomes a father, his attention is diverted from his job and he becomes less effective. Often, he cannot stand the separation and quits his job entirely. If he does not, he is typically called away physically or mentally often enough that he no longer qualifies for promotions, particularly ones that might involve travel. Between taking sick days to take care of his children and not working late because he wants to be with his kids, it makes sense that his career transitions to a holding pattern at best.

Does this sound funny to you? Perhaps a few guys are like this, but would you apply this to any man who has children? Try this one:

When a black man becomes a father, his attention is diverted from his job and he becomes less effective. Often, he cannot stand the separation and quits his job entirely. If he does not, he is typically called away physically or mentally often enough that he no longer qualifies for promotions, particularly ones that might involve travel. Between taking sick days to take care of his children and not working late because he wants to be with his kids, it makes sense that his career transitions to a holding pattern at best.

Did your eyes widen at the outright racism of this? If it didn’t, I don’t want to know you. So how is this wrong in a racial context, but okay in a gender context?

Increasingly, employers need to align themselves with a new reality in which women are the primary breadwinners and the family’s home support structure involves the father to a much greater degree. We might start to hear this more:

Women who are married and have children are better hires because they have a family to provide for, which makes them more stable and dedicated to their jobs.

It’s what they used to say about married men versus single men.