There’s Another Wage Gap Women Have to Worry About

This time, it’s specifically mothers who are affected.

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We’re still a long way from equal pay—women continue to make 79 cents for every dollar earned by their male colleagues, a gap that translates into more than $10,000 annually. That’s no small amount, especially given that women make up 57 percent of the labor force. In new research published by the National Women’s Law Center, the wage gap is segmented even further, with disappointing findings—mothers take a major salary hit compared to fathers. Full-time working mothers only make 73 cents for every dollar paid to full-time working fathers... for the same work.



When the NWLC segmented the wage gap, they found that women in every sector were affected—women of various racial backgrounds, education levels, ages, industries, and sexual orientations consistently earn less than their male colleagues—sometimes as low as 55 cents to the dollar. The NWLC calculated that a woman who worked full time would lose more than $400,000 in a 40-year working period. To make up this earnings loss, she would have to work for an additional 11 years compared to her male colleagues.

When they looked specifically at mothers, they found that the salary gap increased seven percent for each child. They also segmented the data by state—in certain states, like Wyoming, West Virginia, and Louisiana, mothers are making less than 65 cents for every dollar made by working fathers. Mothers of color are also at a disadvantage: Latina mothers make only 47 cents to the dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic working fathers.

What accounts for these discouraging numbers? The NWLC concluded the gap is likely due to several factors: negative stereotypes about working mothers, a lower starting salary for mothers, and uneven caregiving responsibilities at home. Plus, recent research from Glassdoor found that women in general are not negotiating salaries as well as their male colleagues, resulting in lower offers. To read the full report, and learn more about what can be done to achieve equal pay, visit the National Women’s Law Center.