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The Gender Pay Gap Doubles When Professional Women Become Mothers

Topics: Current Events
work-life balance
Roman PohoreckiPexels

For most of us, the years between the age of 25 and 35 are “the prime of our life.” These are the years when most of us truly develop a sense of self, the years where we’re likely to meet a life partner and start a family, the years where we go from wet-behind-the-ears interns to hungry, driven young professionals.

Unfortunately, the career-building stuff and the starting a family stuff are hard to do at the same time, especially for women.

Speaking from experience, kiddos take up a lot of time. And studies have shown that, “Even in families in which both parents work full time, women spend almost double the time on housework and child care.”

Finding the time – not to mention the mental energy – to devote to building your career when you also have a child or two crawling around your ankles is a struggle. And given women spend significantly more time devoted to family and household tasks than men, it’s not surprising mothers would have trouble dedicating themselves to growing their career when they’re also focused on growing a family.

The study found that, in general, women earn $12,600 less than men before their children are born and $25,100 less afterward, with the gender pay gap effectively doubling after the baby arrives. The pay gap continues to grow with each additional child, and it does not begin to close until children are bout 10.

According to The New York Times:

“When women have their first child between age 25 and 35, their pay never recovers, relative to that of their husbands. Yet women who have their first baby either before 25 or after 35 — before their careers get started or once they’re established — eventually close the pay gap with their husbands.”

The study points out that women who have children in their early 20s are likely low-earning, and their husbands are also likely to be low earners; The gender pay gap is smaller among low earning workers, which could explain why these mothers eventually close the gap with their husbands.

Women who have children after the age of 35 tend to be more educated and work in higher-paying jobs, and may have already established themselves at their company and in their field, explain why they also eventually close the gap.

To learn more about the Gender Pay Gap, read PayScale’s recent report, The State of the Gender Pay Gap 2018

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Feature Image Credit: Pexels / Daria Shevtsova


Do you think children play a role in perpetuating the gender pay gap? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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