Fr-SYM-491-2 - Gender Inequality In Parental Leave: Intersection With Obesity And A Nudge For Unpaid Labor Parity

Work-family balance
Friday May 19   10:15 AM to 11:15 AM (1 hour)
Work-Life Interface
Work-family balance
Gender inequality in parental leave: Intersection with obesity and a nudge for unpaid labor parity
J. L. Gloor 1,*, X. Li 2, R. Puhl 3
1Technical University of Munich, Munich, Switzerland, 2Management, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore, 3Human Development & Family Studies, University of Connecticut, Storrs, United States
Main Abstract Content: Purpose
Compared with women, men are typically advantaged in employment-related decisions (e.g., hiring), a gender gap amplified by employee obesity. However, when it comes to parental leave—a family-related employment decision—women are consistently favored in policy coverage and allocation, while the role of weight is less clear.
We experimentally examine the interaction of employee gender and weight in predicting parental leave through family-related stereotypes using a causal chain design with samples of American employees.
Obesity increases leave for women, but decreases leave for men (Study 1). Obesity is associated with attributions of more parental ability and warmth for women, but less for men (Study 2). Leave increases and is more evenly allocated when leave is the default rather than requiring requests (Study 3).
Our causal claims come at the expense of external validity.
Research/Practical Implications
Given its shared stereotype content and practical relevance at the work-family intersection when parental leave decisions occur, it is integral to understand how gender and weight interact to ensure equity in parental leave; unpaid labor has implications for fathers’ family involvement and women’s careers. We also provide causal evidence of parental leave’s antecedents and show that formal—not just subtle—discrimination towards persons with obesity continues. 
We proffer parental leave as an instrument for increased parity in unpaid labor and an example of equity by design, which is increasingly relevant given pernicious bias, the growing number of organizational leave policy offerings, and the offer-uptake gap. 


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