‘Family friendly’ policies such as maternity leave allow millions of women in the United States to take some time off when they give birth or adopt a child in order to spend time physically recuperating and/or initiating a bond with their children. However, many working mothers report facing stereotypes that either negatively impact their decision-making about claiming their rights under work/life balance policies, or cause them to be the specific targets of discrimination in their workplaces. This article, which draws upon in-depth interviews with 48 women from 2 types of work environments (the U.S. military and academia), identifies stereotypes that have developed in these institutions. These stereotypes establish the identity of a working mother as the antithesis of an ‘ideal worker’. I argue that the very policies that are aimed at easing the tension between work and family help to create and reinforce these stereotypes through discursive institutional processes.
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Hampson, Sarah Cote, "Mothers Do Not Make Good Workers: The Role of Work/Life Balance Policies in Reinforcing Gendered Stereotypes" (2018). SIAS Faculty Publications. 1019.