DEI Funded Research

Black, Latin, Asian, and White Mothers in the Workforce: Why the Motherhood Penalty Only Applies to Some Races and Not All

Existing research suggests that employers discriminate against mothers such that mothers are less likely to get hired compared to non-mothers, and if hired, they are offered lower wages (Correll, Benard, & Paik, 2007). People assess mothers as less competent than non-mothers (Cuddy, Fiske, & Glick, 2004). One explanation for this bias is that motherhood is a “status characteristic”. Status characteristic theory defines a status as a categorical distinction among people such as a personal attribute (e.g., gender, physical attractiveness) or role (e.g., motherhood, manager), that has a cultural perception or belief attached to it. People associate greater status worthiness and competence to some characteristics (e.g., non-mothers) than others (e.g., mothers). Thus, being viewed as a parent in the workplace is disadvantageous for women. However, most of the research examining the motherhood premium has been conducted with white women, and it remains unclear if Black, Asian, and Latin mothers may incur a similar hiring and wage penalty as While mothers. Intersectional theory posits that social identities, such as race or gender, do not operate as mutually exclusive entities; instead, identities and categories intersect and reciprocally shape social perceivers’ impressions and social targets’ experiences (Crenshaw 1989). Drawing from intersectional theory, through a series of experimental and field studies, I am examining whether the motherhood premium that White women suffer from, applies differently to non-White women. By doing so, we more precisely identify the mechanism through which the motherhood penalty operates.

Research conducted by Sreedhari Desai, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Crist W. Blackwell Scholar, University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School

The Path for Women of Color (WOC) to Ascend in Healthcare: Stakeholder Perspectives in Nursing

Over 53% of women that held CEO roles had a clinical background, and 43.9% of them were nurses. Yet, this pipeline from bedside nursing to executive leadership has not effectively included WOC.  BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) make up 23.6% of the nursing workforce, but only 19% of first- and mid-level managers 14% of hospital board members and 11% of executive leaders.

No one sat down with me and said, Hey girl, this is how you play the game. This is how they do it, and this is how they win.” In her book The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table, author Minda Harts shares candidly with women of color how to play the game. Playbooks like this are essential for women of color (WOC) to succeed in any corporate sector.

This pilot study will build upon our prior work, with a focus on advancement of WOC along the nursing pipeline. To develop such a playbook, by women of color, for women of color, this study aims to understand the nuanced personal, interpersonal and organizational experiences of WOC in one of the largest industries (healthcare), inside one of the largest occupations within that industry (nursing).  We seek to understand the pathway for advancement along this trajectory from pre-nursing positions to executive leadership  of WOC by gathering the stakeholder perspectives of the following four key groups: (1) WOC in healthcare support positions (e.g., nursing assistants, medical assistants, and technicians), as this group currently mirrors the diversity of the population we serve and offer a natural entry-point into professional bedside clinical nursing; (2) nurses practicing clinically at the bedside; (3) nurses in middle management; and (4) nurses in executive leadership roles with varying scopes (e.g., roles in executive clinical nursing leadership, operations, finance, human resources, or strategy).  We will conduct semi-structured interviews to elicit nuanced details on their perceptions of the following:  1) the structural and cultural barriers they face in the workplace; 2) recommendations for organizational strategies; and 3) potential policy changes that can break down barriers and promote equity for and inclusion of WOC in healthcare leadership.

We anticipate that the results of this pilot study will inform strategic interventions designed to mitigate barriers and create opportunities for advancement of WOC along this pathway from pre-nursing positions to executive leadership.

Research conducted by Larissa Morgan, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, Nursing Professional Specialist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Adjunct Professor of Nursing; Rebecca Trotta, PhD, RN, Executive Director of the Abramson Family Center for Nursing Excellence at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; and Dr. Jaya Aysola, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Penn Medicine Center for the Health Equity Advancement and Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity

How Perceptions of Women in the Workplace Differ by Racial Category: An Examination of Asian American Women as Compared to White and Black American Women

Organizational research has documented differences between perceptions of men and women at work and differences between Black and white workers. Far less research has examined other demographic groups, such as Asian Americans. With the increasing heat of “Anti-Asian hate”, we plan to study the role and perceptions of Asian American women in the workplace. Through a series of studies, we will examine differences in how Asian American women are perceived as compared to White and Black American women at work. We will examine perceptions of competence, social skills, and leadership skills across different demographic groups. Our goal is to document the different perceptions, challenges and opportunities, Asian American women face at work.

Research conducted by Coral Zheng, incoming Doctoral Student, Cambridge Judge Business School and Professor Sunita Sah, Associate Professor of Management and Organizations, Cornell University.

Through a Trauma-informed Lens: Addressing Oppression and Traumatic Stress of Black and Latinx Women at Work

Black, Latin, Asian, and White Mothers in the Workforce: Why the Motherhood Penalty Only Applies to Some Races and Not All