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Monday, August 08, 2022

Men's careers benefit from having children, but not women's, study says

When Jenna Bilodeau establishes herself, she wants children.

The 21-year-old UF microbiology and neurobiological sciences senior said she knows she’ll probably have a high-demand job because of the field, but she still wants a family.

“I want to be a physician, so I do believe having kids will affect me,” she said, “but it shouldn’t.”

According to new research by Michelle Budig, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, having children can help further men’s careers while stunting women’s.

Employers prefer hiring fathers over mothers, the research suggested. They view fathers as more committed to their work to support their children, while mothers are believed to work less and get distracted more easily.

Men typically earn 6 percent more if they have children, while women lose 4 percent of their earnings per child, according to the study.

Single, childless women make 96 cents for every dollar a man with or without kids makes, while married mothers make 76 cents.

“It’s interesting that these assumptions have extended over the last 30 years,” said Suzanna Smith, UF associate professor of human development and family relations. “I think we’re looking at major stereotypes that haven’t been overcome yet.”

[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 9/10/2014 under the headline "Study: Men’s careers benefit from children, but not women’s"]

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