For example, women often have less work experience because of maternity leave and employers often associate working moms (or women in general because of their potential to become mothers) with lots of sick days (to take care of sick kids, not to recuperate from being sick because who has time for that?), long lunch breaks (because we're taking the kids to the pediatrician or running a school project Jimmy forgot at home over to his class), and lack of focus (because we're obviously unable to think about anything other than whether Emma is getting enough vegetables in her diet).
These stereotypes (both real and projected) stem from attitudes created by the stigma that men are not/should not be involved in raising children.
If paternity leave was more commonly offered and not so frowned upon by society, male employers would be more understanding of mothers who took time off to recuperate from giving birth/bond with their child/raise said child, because they would be doing the same thing!
See this brilliant video here for more on why paternity leave should be a normal thing.
And again, if dads were more involved, and not criticized for it, male employers wouldn't think twice about hiring a mom because A) they would know a mom can still kick ass even while, in fact, worrying a little bit about Emma's diet since they do too and B) they would also be using their sick days to tend to their kids, which would even out the gender gap.
The fact that these stereotypes still exist, as Laura Perlongo so aptly says in her video, "It's basically saying that taking care of a child is a woman's job." Which is totally sexist and harmfully and rude and generally suck-ish. And, obviously, doesn't promote a good work environment which actually serves to detract from business performance. Besides, moms are often better workers because of their motherhood, not in spite of it.
But more on that next week! Stay tuned for Part 3.
For more of my series "Gender Roles &..." see my author profile!