Research based on gender role theory shows that compared with men, women face many employment disadvantages, while mothers often face the biggest obstacles. The article extends this literature by suggesting that motherhood is not a necessary condition for women to face maternal punishment. Conversely, managers’ expectations that applicants will have children in the near future (i.e., “may be babies” expectations) increase their perceptions of the risks of hiring childless women of childbearing age (but not men). Investigating the intersection of gender and age, and integrating the economic theory of discrimination, the article conceptualized recruitment as a risk assessment process, and proposed that managers’ risk perceptions have led to more unstable employment conditions for this group of women.
Diversity & Inclusion Platform