The motherhood penalty

Screenshot 2017-04-01 13.03.17The wage gap between men and women seems to widen when more factors other than gender are included.

The average full-time working woman is paid 80 cents for every dollar the average man is paid for working full time.

A woman is then further punished if she decides that she wants to start a family and have a child. The U.S. is a high-income country, yet it (surprisingly) is one of eight countries in the world that “do not mandate paid leave for mothers of newborns.”

Imagine being a woman who works for a company that does not grant paid maternity leave. As a new mother, it is only natural that you would want to spend as much time with your newborn as possible, but without income it would be hard to provide for the child. The closet thing to paid maternity leave that the U.S. has is the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows for employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to handle family or medical reasons while maintaining the security of having a job.

There are, however, some states that have paid maternity leave laws. “New Jersey state maternity leave laws permit up to 18 weeks of partially paid leave.”

So when a woman goes on maternity leave, she’s not paid her entire 80-cents-on-the-dollar, and the wage gap for women continues as long as women are able to bear children. So biologically speaking, that will be forever.

By Kendra Key

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