Women’s wages (U.S.)

14 09 2006

A study found that women without children make 90 cents to a man’s dollar, while moms make only 73 cents to the dollar, and single moms make 56 to 66 cents to a man’s dollar.

Yes, it’s with motherhood–a time when families need more economic support for basic needs, childcare, and healthcare; not less support–that women take the biggest economic hits in the form of lower pay.

WHY MOMS?: Dr. Shelley Correll’s groundbreaking research at Cornell Universtiy released in 2005 found, as others have, that the wage gap wasn’t linked to self-limiting factors that might cause a wage gap, such as mothers taking more time off to care for children, but in actuality is fairly straightforward discrimination. In other words, it’s not mothers’ “fault” they receive less pay.

The basic findings: Mothers are 44 percent less likely to be hired than non-mothers for the same job given the exact same resume and experience for the two groups of women (mothers and non-mothers). Her study also found that mothers are offered significantly lower starting pay. Study participants offered non-mothers an average of $11,000 more than mothers for the same high salaried job as equally qualified non-mothers.

Interestingly, her study also confirmed what others have found: Men don’t take wage hits after having children, their wages actually increase.

Something is really going on here. Amy Caiazza, from The Institute for Women s Policy Research, notes, “We did a study that found if there wasn’t a wage gap, the poverty rates for single moms would be cut in half, and the poverty rates for dual earner families would be cut by about 25 percent.”

FINDING THE FIX: This brings us to the heart of the matter–and to some ideas for solutions. Waldfogel writes in The Journal of Economic Perspectives that one reason for the widening American maternal wage gap may be the institutional structure in the United States, which has emphasized equal pay and equal opportunity policies, but not family policies such as maternity leave and child care. Other industrialized countries that have implemented family policies along with their gender policies seem to have had better success at narrowing both the gender gap and the family gap.

Family policies such as paid family leave, as well as subsidized child and universal healthcare, have been shown to help close the maternal gap in other countries. Flexible work options that include all men and women (so those that use the flexible work options aren’t marginalized) are also important.

READ IT, TELL IT, ACT: Want to learn more about Audrey and others dealing with unfair wages? Read Chapter 7 of The Motherhood Manifesto at http://www.momsrising.org/manifesto/chapter7




One response

16 09 2006

es-tu à la cherche d’une nouvelle image ?

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