June 29, 2015 Practice Points

Childless Women "Scorned" in Workplace

By Suzanne L. Jones

In the recent article, “Childless Women Are Scorned,” author Vivia Chen commented on the recent finding that women without children reported “significantly more incivility than childless men and are ‘most negatively affected’ by incivility” in the workplace. According to a study conducted by psychology professors at Texas A&M, University of Florida, and University of Miami that focused on female law professors and their treatment at work, childless women are disdained and do not benefit from the same career boost childless men experience. The study noted the reason may be that childless women “violate traditional notions about gender by not occupying the mother role” and “may be perceived as selfish, competitive, and trying to ‘act like men’ . . . and therefore punished via uncivil treatment.” In addition, childless women do not have the “psychological safety net” that family life provides. According to the study, “not only are women without kids treated with contempt at work for aping male ambitions, they go home to a lonely existence that offers little consolation.”

Keywords: workplace, incivility, childless women, contempt

Suzanne L. Jones works at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in Minneapolis, Minnesota

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