GOOD

Men Get Raises For Being Dads While Women Suffer Wage Penalties For Being Mothers

Men and women are equal in the workplace—until they have a child

We’re told gender equality in the workplace is the best it’s ever been. Forty years ago, only half of all women in the United States worked, compared to 80 percent of men, and those that did earned just 55 cents to a man’s dollar. These days, women make up half of the nation’s workforce, and those between the ages of 25 and 34 are earning 93 percent of what a man their same age earns. There are now even some fields where women are outearning men. We’re not there yet, but workplace equality seems to be improving—that is, until you have a kid. While studies have found that the gender pay gap is decreasing, it’s unfortunately not the case for mothers. For parents, the gender pay gap is getting even worse.

[quote position="full" is_quote="true"]Today’s women incur a “motherhood penalty”—whereas men are rewarded with a “fatherhood premium.”[/quote]


It’s so bad, in fact, that motherhood is shockingly one of the strongest predictors of bankruptcy and poverty. Today’s women incur what sociologist Michelle Budig calls a “motherhood penalty”—whereas men are rewarded with a “fatherhood premium.” In her research analyzing income within the context of age and children, Budig found that women, on average, earn 4 percent less per child they birth or adopt. At even a modest salary of $50,000, that’s a $2,000 per year penalty. Men, on the other hand, earn a 6 percent bonus per procreation. So if you’re balking at the price of brunch this year, consider the fact that your mere existence may have cost your mother thousands.

This gap is, in part, due to the fact that women are more likely than men to take time off for their kids—or opt for a job that’s less time intensive (and often lower paid) to care for children. Research from Pew found that 42 percent of mothers reduce their work hours and 27 percent quit their jobs. For men, those numbers are much lower: 28 and 10 percent respectively. At home, the husband’s role has traditionally been the breadwinner, and it seems as though not much has changed, despite the advancements women have made. It’s tempting to leave the explanation at that, a symptom of tradition—women take maternity leave, act as stay-at-home parents, switch to a less taxing career. While problematic, it’s not surprising. But that’s far from the full story. In fact, Budig found that this only accounts for about one-third of the motherhood penalty. The rest is straight up bias.

“Fatherhood,” Budig says in her report, “is a valued characteristic of employers, signaling perhaps greater work commitment, stability, and deservingness.” Women, on the other hand, are judged more harshly by employers once they have children.

This paradigm is well-supported by other research too. Law professor Joan Williams reviewed the research on stereotyping in the workplace and found that mothers are considered lesser employees—they are assumed to be both less attentive to work and less capable. Researchers at Cornell University confirmed this as well. When they asked people to evaluate hypothetical job applicants, mothers were judged as less committed and less competent than nonmothers.

[quote position="full" is_quote="true"]In our workforce, children turn men into assets and turn women into liabilities.[/quote]

This bias plays out in an even scarier way than you’d think: Moms were six times less likely to be recommended for hire and offered a salary that was 8 percent lower than that of nonmothers. For men, it was the inverse; their salaries were even higher when they had kids. Researchers didn’t stop there. To test this theory in the real world, they sent out 1,276 fake resumes to real employers across a number of different fields. But the bias still held true: nonmothers were more than twice as likely to be called for an interview as mothers. Fathers were twice as likely to be called as nonfathers. In our workforce, children turn men into assets and turn women into liabilities.

We’re trapped in this self-reinforcing cycle,” economist Sari Kerr told The New York Times. Couples will choose one parent to make career sacrifices for children, usually the person making less money. That’s often the mother, but the reason she’s making less in the first place is that she’s a mother. The problematic pattern continues: Women are paid less, with the problem exacerbated by fathers actually getting paid more.

Society already undervalues the work women do as mothers—cooking, cleaning, childcare—which they still do more of than men. And apparently, we also greatly undervalue and underpay what mothers do at work, further perpetuating the stigma around women’s roles. Even when couples reject the traditional breadwinner husband and child-rearing housewife roles at home, women’s lagging wages in the workplace reinforce the outdated structure. Women can make all the progress in the world, but until the workplace stops differentiating between mothers and fathers, women will continue to be penalized for being the ones to give birth.

Money
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less
Health

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics