Biases toward pregnant women in the workplace
Law, Charlie L.
Hebl, Michelle R.
Doctor of Philosophy
The current study investigates reactions toward pregnant women in the workplace. Participants in an online study watched a video of an applicant (depicted as either pregnant or nonpregnant) for a professional development grant. Additionally, the applicant was either portrayed as stereotypically feminine (e.g., high in communality, low in agency), or stereotypically masculine (e.g., high in agency, low in communality). Finally, the applicant was presented as being either a member of a stereotypically masculine department (e.g., Electrical Engineering), or a stereotypically feminine department (e.g., Elementary Education). Results indicate that although pregnant women do not experience more positivity in the workplace, they do experience less negativity. Specifically, pregnant applicants were recipients of less hostile sexism and benevolent sexism than the nonpregnant applicants. Further exploratory analyses indicate that the applicant's personality, and perceptions of the applicants' warmth and competence strongly predicts the level of hostile sexism, benevolent sexism, benevolence, and resource allocation directed at them. Theoretical and practical considerations of these findings are addressed.
Women's studies; Industrial psychology; Industrial sociology; Labor relations