Type of Work

Research Paper

Publication Date



How does previous work experience connoting motherly warmth and nurturing impact evaluations of women as job applicants? Professional women are penalized for being mothers but benefit from following traditional gender scripts, which expect women to be warm, caring, and service-oriented. While there are overlaps in traits between being a mother and being a woman, the influence of motherly-warm traits on application results is unclear. To tackle this question, I conducted a survey experiment (N = 244) using a task in which each participant is asked to evaluate the resume of a prospective job applicant with or without job experiences conveying maternal warmth and then whether they would recommend the candidate for an interview. I found that candidates with work experiences that signal warmth/nurturing capacity/care were more likely to be recommended for an interview. Diverged from Quadlin (2018), candidates with B-level GPAs were not more likely to receive a recommendation for an interview than candidates with A- or C-level GPAs. In the mediation analysis, candidates with warm/nurturing/caring experiences received more favorable ratings in warmth, likability, caring quality, sincerity, pleasantness, competence, commitment, capability, organization, trustworthiness, and skillfulness, which mediated the relationship between having warm/nurturing/caring experiences and the likelihood of being recommended for an interview. The findings expand the knowledge of the intertwined gender expectations faced by professional women and encourage future studies to examine the combined impact of multiple gender expectations.

Hamilton Areas of Study


Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Summer Research Fellowship

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Matthew Grace