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Earlier this month, on March 14th, the USA commemorated equal pay day – a symbolic day that raises awareness about how women are still paid less than men in a significant number of workplaces.
The reason the day fell on March 14th this year, the 74th day of the year, is because in the United States, the average median woman would have had to have worked an extra 74 days last year to match what the median man earned.
To raise awareness, a number of startling statistics were published to illustrate just how far society still needs to go until men and women are paid equally. Some of these statistics focused on the “motherhood penalty” – the idea that many women have to take a hit on their careers when they become mothers, something that men rarely have to do.
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Are Women Punished for Having Children?
According to the Pew Research Center, the widest gap between men and women in terms of annual salary comes when women enter their 30s. Coincidentally, this is also the time that women are most likely to have young children.
In 2022, women between the ages of 25 and 34 earned around 92% as much as men. However, women aged between 35 and 44 earned just 83% as much. Last year, the median age for a new mom was 30 years old, meaning that by the time women turn 35, they have potentially either permanently given up on their careers for childcare or at least taken some time out.
While women suffer career-wise from having children, men appear to flourish. Dubbed the “fatherhood premium,” data suggests that men are more likely to work longer hours and receive more bonuses when they have young children.
This means that men are able to take advantage of the fact that female colleagues are at home looking after their children to get ahead in their careers, something that doesn’t seem fair considering it takes both a man and a woman to create a child.
The data is particularly alarming because women outperform men in college graduation and enrollment. This would suggest that more women are entering their careers with more knowledge and qualifications than men yet are still being undervalued by employers.
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Other Factors for the 35-44Year-Old Gender Pay Gap
It isn’t just parenthood that is contributing to the gender pay gap for women in their 30s and 40s, according to experts. Jessica Ramey Stender, the policy director, and deputy legal director at Equal Rights Advocates says that women are expected to undertake more domestic labor and caregiving duties outside of parenting more so than men.
She said: “It still often the woman who takes time from their job to be a caretaker or manage the household, which, in turn, can exacerbate burnout and depress her earnings.”
One way in which women can fight against the gender pay gap is by using sponsors. The leader of Catatlyst’s women and the future of work initiative, Pasquarella Daley said: “Young women need people who can advocate for them behind closed doors and recommend them for promotions. That can make all the difference in their career development and, in turn, in their earnings.”
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- 20 Things Genz and Millennials Actually AGREE with BOOMERS On
As a full-time working mom of three, I know what it’s like to feel like life is out of balance and out of control.
While I don’t have it all figured out, I am committed to sharing helpful tips and tricks with other mommas who are ready to break free from negativity, ditch mom guilt, & finally, live life on their own terms.