The Mommy Penalty- Could It Hurt Your Earnings?


Share this Post

Are you a mother trying to juggle your job and your family? If so, you need to know about the "mommy penalty." The penalty refers to the fact that women who are mothers, often take jobs that offer low hourly pay. Women who do not have children take higher paying jobs and typically spend less out of pocket money in their lifetime.

Men with children younger than 18 year old do not make the same sacrifice. In fact, the report show that women with young children only earned about 81% off what men with children of the same age, earn in a typical work week. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released a report, explaining the penalty. The report says,

“Among women, median weekly earnings for mothers of children under age 18 were $680, slightly below the earnings for women without children under 18 ($697).”

“Among men, earnings for fathers with children under 18 were $946, compared with $799 for men without children under 18.”

"Asian women and men earned more than their White, Black, and Hispanic or Latino counterparts in 2012. Among women, Whites ($710) earned 92 percent as much as Asians ($770), while Blacks ($599) and Hispanics ($521) earned 78 percent and 68 percent as much as Asians, respectively. In comparison, White men ($879) earned 83 percent as much as Asian men ($1,055); Black men ($665) earned 63 percent as much as Asians; and Hispanic men ($592), 56 percent."

The reason for the difference in pay between women and men with children comes down to gender roles. Although women have made great strides in workplace equality, many employers feel that women will children are obligated to be at home and cannot perform at well at work if they are distracted by their children at home. On the other hand, employers believe that men who have children and a family are likely to work harder and perform better on the job in order to provide for their families better.

Michelle Budig, a sociology professor with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst said about the report, “I think parenthood is like the new site of gender discrimination.”

Image from Wikimedia Commons.