14 Mar The Wage Gap Between Mums and Other Working Women
Did you know that childless women may earn more money than their working-mum counterparts? In fact, the wage gap between mothers and childless women is larger than the gap between women and men.
New research conducted by the International Labour Office (UN Body) explored the growing inequality between working women – and declared, “motherhood pay gaps are a global issue.”
The study also revealed that a motherhood pay gap does exist, and tends to widen with the number of children a woman has. The reasoning behind it was: for every child a working woman has, her ability to keep pace in earning with her childless peers loses traction.
Motherhood pay gap is a global issue
The size of the wage gap is not the same in all countries. Whilst in some countries, mothers seem to experience a one-off penalty on returning to work, for others the penalty seems to accumulate over time. Even though working mothers have good educational backgrounds and work experience, the research still shows a gap in pay. Interestingly, this is more evident in developing countries than in developed countries.
What about Britain? Mothers working full-time are among the hardest hit in Britain; many wold blame it on the lack of available facilities to care for children, after school or during the working day. Especially young mothers (aged 25 and under), and those who take longer maternity leave, are the ones who may have to face longer lasting wage penalties.
The reasons behind the motherhood pay gulf
- That a mother’s skills may have depreciated due to the interruption in working patterns, particularly if new innovations have developed during her absence.
- Some argue that mothers may choose to return to work in ‘family-friendly’ jobs, which might offer greater flexibility, but could be less productive, and hence lower paid.
- Failure of local markets to provide suitable levels of childcare to support mothers in paid employment.
Some managers assume these are the reasons why women become less productive or committed, while others question its authenticity – asking to show hard evidence of differences in performance or motivation.
Criticizing these reasons, sociologists suggest that these negative stereotypes about mothers’ commitment to work have resulted in shaping an employer’s hiring and promotion decisions.
In order to redress the wage gap between the pay of working mothers and their childless peers, organisations can adopt these measures:
- Make childcare more accessible, better quality and affordable
- Adjust tax credit rules so that mothers are treated as economically independent adults, and not second earners
- Proactively counter negative stereotypes about mothers’ commitment to paid employment
- Encourage family-friendly workplace cultures
There are now opportunities in the UK for mothers and fathers to share paid leave, but the pay is still very low. Instead of returning back to your company after your maternity leave, how about creating your own home office? This way you will be able to spend time with your newborn, without making any compromises on your pay, by starting your own business from home!