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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Professor Joan Williams on the Rock-Solid Maternal Wall

Joan C. Williams, who spearheaded “The Flexibility Stigma” issue, is not surprised by these findings.

Gender bias prevents people from expressing their desire for flexible work schedules, says Williams, who is a distinguished professor and the director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings, College of the Law. She says the flexibility stigma is a part of “maternal wall bias,” which is brought about simply by being a mother—and it’s 10 times larger than bias based on gender alone.

“For women, it’s the fear of triggering the strongest form of gender bias against women—maternal wall. And for men, there’s fear of triggering a stigma on the grounds they’re too feminine,” Williams says. “So both forms of stigma are driven by gender bias, which means that allowing the flexibility stigma to affect people’s careers is a potential violation of federal anti-discrimination law.”

Read more from The Daily Beast here.

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