Methods: The data used in this study were from the Korean Longitudinal Survey of Women and Families 7th wave. A probability sample of 1,224 working mothers was analyzed. CES-D (Center for Epidemiological Studies Short Depression Scale) was used to measure the dependent variable, depression. The independent variable, perceived gender discrimination, was measured as the sum of six items on how much gender discrimination was perceived in the workplace. Considering the direction of the mediation variable, work-family conflict, it is classified into two types: work-family spillover and family-work spillover. The work-family spillover was measured with six items, and the family-work spillover was measured with five items. Work-family conflict was measured by the total value of eleven items. Multiple regression analyses and process macro model 4 were conducted to examine the model.
Results: The average of the main variables is below: participants’ perceived gender discrimination was 12.89(SD=3.92), work-family conflict was 23.93(SD=3.93) and depression was 14.48(SD=4.67). First, working mothers with a higher level of perceived gender discrimination and work-family conflict each had a much higher level of depression. Second, working mothers with a higher level of perceived gender discrimination had a significantly higher level of work-family conflict. Third, work-family conflict mediated the relationship between perceived gender discrimination and depression of working mothers. In conclusion, the results showed that the relationship between perceived gender discrimination and depression was partially mediated by work-family conflict.
Conclusion and Implication: This study shows that working mothers with a higher level of perceived gender discrimination had a significantly higher level of depression, and perceived gender discrimination could also cause work-family conflict which leads to depression. Thus, we need organizational efforts to reduce discrimination against working mothers in the workplace. In specific, companies should reorganize their system for equal treatment regardless of gender in all aspects, from the recruitment process to wage, work allocation, and promotion. Furthermore, the leadership(executives) should make active efforts to form a gender-equal and family-friendly organizational culture to prevent work-family conflict. It is necessary to check the organizational culture and systems to lower their perceived gender discrimination and burden by multiple roles. This article expects that these organizational efforts would ultimately have a positive effect on married women’s mental health and reduce their depression.