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When Professionals Become Mothers, Warmth Doesn't Cut the Ice


*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Amy Cuddy, Psychology Department, Green Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544 [e-mail:].


Working moms risk being reduced to one of two subtypes: homemakers—viewed as warm but incompetent, or female professionals—characterized as competent but cold. The current study ( N= 122 college students) presents four important findings. First, when working women become mothers, they trade perceived competence for perceived warmth. Second, working men don't make this trade; when they become fathers, they gain perceived warmth and maintain perceived competence. Third, people report less interest in hiring, promoting, and educating working moms relative to working dads and childless employees. Finally, competence ratings predict interest in hiring, promoting, and educating workers. Thus, working moms' gain in perceived warmth does not help them, but their loss in perceived competence does hurt them.