The Price Of Being A Working Mother

Jan 31, 2023
Bethany Carter
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We need to talk about working mothers. They represent a gaping hole in workplace equality, and there is no easy fix.

Did you know there is currently a gender pay gap in 94 per cent of occupations?

Typically, men’s wages continue to rise throughout their working lives while women’s rise less quickly. This gap widens further when women have children, and they never catch up. Women make just 83 cents on the dollar, and this widens further for mothers, who make just 74 cents on the dollar (Source: Forbes).

That gives working mothers a loss of $17,000 every year.

Let’s look at mothers of colour. Black mothers lose an average of $34,000 compared to white fathers. Native American mothers lose £36,000, and for Latina mothers, it’s $38,000.

Think about how this kind of pay inequality affects mothers over their lifetime, considering women live an average of almost six years longer than men. Most working mothers will have worked less time overall in employment but carried out more unpaid work at home.

As a thank you, they retire on lower pensions and live out their final years in poverty. Women over 65 today are more than one and a half times more likely to live in poverty than men in the same age bracket.

For some, the price of being a working mother is even higher. When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit in 2020, huge numbers of mothers lost their jobs or were forced to work part-time. Suddenly childcare was unavailable, schools were closed, and mothers were expected to pick up the extra work.

When comparing all mothers who worked to all fathers who worked in 2020, regardless of how many hours or weeks they worked, mothers were typically paid just 58 cents on the dollar.

“Obviously 2020 was a total anomaly,” says Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the National Women’s Law Center. “Pandemic job losses were largely concentrated in low-paid workers without a lot of benefits in industries where women are over-represented, such as retail and hospitality. Women are still down 427,000 jobs in the labor force compared to February 2020.”

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis underscores the need to close the pay gap and level the playing field for working mothers, who have been shortchanged and undervalued for too long.


Companies can do this by:

> Being transparent about salaries

> Proving their commitment to equal pay

> Eliminating bias in the recruitment process

> Not asking about salary history

Becoming EQUAL-SALARY Certified is the best way to achieve all of the above! Are you ready to prove your commitment to equal pay? Get Certified.


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