Fatherhood Helps a Man’s Career; Motherhood Hurts a Woman’s

Tuesday, September 09, 2014
(photos: Getty Images; graphic-Steve Straehley)

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.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


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)


Sheree Loftus 9 years ago
Women work twice as much as a men and receive half the credit. Women multi-task and are amazing at getting multiple tasks done at once. Men work hard, but do not deserve any more cash than women for the same job. Women need this money just as much as they are more often head of a household, with no extra cash for child care. We must stop the money misogyny. It is very long overdue. I work in a women's profession and without fail men are promoted more often than women. This must change a penis does not make a human more valuable as a vagina does not make a human less valuable. Women are over half the planet time for respect, using our talents and providing us equal pay. Sheree

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