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The author suggests that employer discrimination towards working mothers
Since the motherhood penalty has remained the same over time, this means that employer discrimination still remains. However, since women's employment patterns have changed over time (women are now remaining employed after having children), this cannot be a cause of this discrimination. The researchers expected discrimination to be related to employment patterns, but the results of their research proves that this is not the case.
This answer choice presumes that 1) most employers are men and that 2) only men discriminate against working mothers. Neither of these facts are supported by the information in the passage.
This answer choice presumes that employers discriminate towards all women, whereas the passage states that employer discrimination is directed at working mothers.
We know from our Initial Reading that the motherhood penalty has not decreased, and since employer discrimination is a factor in this phenomenon, we have no information to suggest that it is decreasing currently or will decrease in the future.
Women's overall level of education and job skills are mentioned as one reason for the researchers' expectations that the motherhood penalty phenomenon to decrease. Employer's discrimination is mentioned as a separate, unrelated reason to this expectation.