Fatherhood Helps a Man’s Career; Motherhood Hurts a Woman’s
Having kids is great for men, who can wind up making more money as a result of starting a family. Women, on the other hand, often find themselves penalized for becoming mothers, a new study shows.
Michelle Budig, a University of Massachusetts, Amherst, sociology professor who has studied parenthood and professional salaries, says employers tend to look down on female workers who have children. They are less likely to get jobs, Budig found, and more likely to be seen as unreliable in the workplace. And forget about making as much money as male counterparts, even if their qualifications are the same, she says.
The gender pay gap, which had been shrinking for 25 years, has stalled since 2003. Women who have never been married earn 96% of what men earn, but for married women the number is only 77%.
The problem is worst among low-income women. They have fewer benefits, less access to child care and so are more likely to cut their hours or quit work altogether after having a child.
Men, though, wind up in the bonus for becoming fathers. “Employers read fathers as more stable and committed to their work; they have a family to provide for, so they’re less likely to be flaky,” Budig told The New York Times. “That is the opposite of how parenthood by women is interpreted by employers. The conventional story is they work less and they’re more distractible when on the job.”
To Learn More:
The Motherhood Penalty vs. the Fatherhood Bonus (by Claire Cain Miller, New York Times)
The Fatherhood Bonus & the Motherhood Penalty (by Michelle Budig, Third Way) (pdf)
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