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Money and Power: the Ambition Penalty

If you’re interested in the “ambition penalty” that working women face and haven’t heard about Stefanie O’Connell, I recommend listening to and reading her work. She reveals research results about gender roles and gender stereotypes in the workplace.

Some of the topics that she discusses:

The “motherhood penalty” and the “fatherhood bonus”

For every child a woman has, her income drops by percent. In contrast, for every child a man has, his income increases by six percent. Women are penalized (the motherhood penalty) because they are less likely to be promoted and held to a higher standard, while men are held to a lower standard. For example, they are more likely to be excused if they are late for work and they have children.

The “ambition penalty”

Successful women in traditionally masculine roles (such as leadership) face professional, personal, and social penalties. There is workplace unpleasantness in how they are treated by management and their peers.

Changes to traditional roles

Women who outearn their male partners (significant others) will notice an effect on their relationships. A housework gap exists as women still take on much of the housework. They also face increased stress levels, higher divorce levels, and increased cheating incidents from their partners.

Men who are married to wives in “traditional marriages,” meaning the wives don’t work, are more likely to have a negative view of women in the workplace. For example, they perceive an organization with mostly women workers as running less smoothly.

Perception of discretionary spending

What is considered a worthwhile expense? Men spend money on their vehicle, video games, or golf clubs. Women spend money on clothes, handbags, or skin care. However, it is women who are perceived as wasting money because of the expectation that women should be spending money on others, such as their children.

Wage reduction

When more women are represented in a specific occupation, the average wage for both men and women in that occupation decreases over time. The conclusion is that the gender of the workers changes the wages of the work.

For more fascinating facts

If you’re fascinated by these research findings and want more details, check out her IG account.

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