Physicians who are mothers experience maternal discrimination

According to a study from a California university, it is not uncommon for doctors who are also moms to experience workplace discrimination. The study was reportedly inspired by online conversations at a group comprised of physician moms. In the group, which has almost 70,000 community members, physicians can share stories, ask questions and seek support.

Of the nearly 6,000 participants who responded to the survey, approximately 78 percent reported that they experienced discrimination of some form while on the job. About 35 percent of the respondents reported maternal discrimination. This form of discrimination included any aspects of being a mother, including breastfeeding and maternity leave. Thirty-nine percent of the respondents also reported that they had been treated disrespectfully by coworkers at some point, including nurses and other staff members. Some even reported that they were left out of administrative decision-making.

Although this report highlights certain workplace challenges that female physicians, particularly mothers, face, other research has shown that female physicians typically make less than their male colleagues. Further, they are also less likely to be promoted. When the survey respondents were asked what changes they would like to see in the workplace, equal salaries and a longer paid maternity leave were on the list.

It is illegal for employers to discriminate based on a person’s gender. However, it is not uncommon for some workers, such as working mothers, to experience lower pay than their male colleagues and disrespectful treatment. Because all employees have the right to a workplace that is free of discrimination, an employment discrimination attorney might be of assistance to those that have been the target of unlawful behavior.

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