Navigating the leaky pipeline: Do stereotypes about parents predict career outcomes in academia?

Vasilena Stefanova (Corresponding / Lead Author), Ioana Latu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The motherhood penalty seemingly reflects a preference to hire female professionals who are not parents compared to mothers, however, little is known about whether this effect is attributable to parent stereotypes per se. Study 1 assessed the content of the parent-academia stereotypes of 180 individuals working in Education and revealed stronger stereotypical associations of fathers with academia than mothers. Study 2 investigated what parent-academia stereotypes predict in terms of endorsements for hiring men versus women in a mock hiring task set in an academic context. Academics (N = 112) evaluated mock job candidates for an Assistant Professor post while the gender, parental status and leave status of the candidates were manipulated. The findings showed that parents were significantly less likely to be endorsed to be hired than non-parents, regardless of gender. Parent-academia stereotypes led to biased hiring recommendations, such that a greater endorsement of parent-academia stereotypes predicted a reduced likelihood to endorse hiring parents compared to non-parents. Implications for reducing parent stereotypes in academic contexts are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - Oct 2022


    • academia
    • stereotypes
    • hiring
    • parenting
    • caregiving


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