The unacknowledged ‘motherhood penalty’

22 Apr

(Originally posted to the Community section of MyMedia)

The unacknowledged, but pretty damned real, ‘motherhood penalty,’ in an article on a major news outlet:

Taking median earnings of women and men who worked full time, year-round, government data from 2014 show that women make $0.79 for every dollar a man earns. The average earnings for working mothers come out to even less — $0.71 for every dollar a father makes, according to a 2014 study conducted by the National Partnership for Women and Children.

In a 2013 study, Mary Ann Mason, professor and co-director of the Center for Economics & Family Security at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, revealed some alarming outcomes for women in academia: Women graduate students who are pregnant or mothers with young children are 132 percent more likely to be working in a contingent position, while men with a young child are 36 percent less likely to be in a contingent position. Contingent positions are non-tenured, adjunct, or temporary jobs that are not secure.

This is why women keep asking for equality and parity–because, despite all the bloviating by (mostly white men) who are in positions of power, there is no parity, in salary or in how women are treated in the work place.

Mind you, like many other such articles, this one focuses on women in careers, not on the many women who work at the bottom of the work ladder, such as the food industry, retail, and other unskilled work, who are affected by this disparity to a ridiculous degree.

(Anecdata: I was a supervisor at a food franchise, and guys with little to no food service experience were hired, to be trained by me, making one to two dollars more than I was.)

Too many women with young children, whether single or not, are the main breadwinners in their households. However, regardless of how well they do their job, they tend to be underpaid (in a comparison with their male peers), and passed over for promotions or bonuses.

How do you think this affects generation after generation of people?

2 Responses to “The unacknowledged ‘motherhood penalty’”

  1. Bona Caballero 23/04/2016 at 5:18 AM #

    Thank you for writing such a thoughtful post.
    We have all to be aware of this that the law saying ‘you’re equal’ is not enough. It’s important of course, it’s the first step, just think how many countries do not still have it.
    But in our Western societies there’s still this structural sexism that makes unequality in income or in achieving a job or the glass ceiling that persists. Or crimes against women not being well investigated because the victims are women.
    That’s why feminism is still needed. The compromise of men and women is still needed. And I’m very sad when someone says -you’ve got the same rights, so why do you still protest?
    I think that we have to be aware of this first of all. That’s the first step and not everybody does it. I have a friend who has got a very important executive job, and has been working for the same firm for more than twenty years! And she still hasn’t been made a partner. The man who entered in the firm at the same time was made partner years ago. The sad thing is that we, her friends, tell her that that’s a sexist politics in the firm, but she refuses to accept it, and rejects our opinions.
    If we ourselves are not aware of it, then we cannot fight it.

    • azteclady 23/04/2016 at 5:26 AM #

      Yes, exactly!

      Women are still conditioned to believe–and we are often told to believe–that if men don’t acknowledge our accomplishments, it’s because we haven’t quite gotten there, because we aren’t quite ‘good enough,’ rather than the fact that there are unwritten, and often unconscious, biases in place.

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