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The gender pay gap and its effects on working mothers

Authored by Phil Meekin

Phil Meekin

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Approximate read time: 2 minutes

It has recently been reported that the gender pay gap is still very much evident as working mothers continue to earn less than their male counterparts and women without children.

A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) states that women who return to work part time after having a baby see their pay fall behind the wages of men year on year. It goes on to say that mothers who return to work miss out on promotions and gain less working experience, all of which halts their earning power in the workplace.

One of the authors of the report, Robert Joyce, says that there is not a cut in the hourly wages of mothers returning to work when they decide to drop their hours to part time. Instead women who work part-time miss out on the wage progression that men and women without children get. As a result, men and women without children pull further ahead with their earnings, leaving mothers and their wages behind.

The report suggests that women earn around 18% less per hour than men, this rises steadily year on year when returning to work after the birth of a child. Although, the starting pay gap of 18% has fallen over the last 20 years from when it was recorded at 28% in 1993, it is still a worry for many that the pay gap still exist.

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These stats have seen women viewing the decision to have children as a life changing one as many decide to stop working altogether or put off having children until later in life. This is usually so they can build up a better base wage to live on when they return to work part time.

Even mothers who return to work full time after having children are experiencing this fall behind in their pay after having time off for maternity leave.

In 2017, the Government’s plan for businesses with over 250 staff to reveal the number of men and women in each pay range, shedding a light on any gender pay gap, comes into effect.

The Government hope this will pull greater focus onto this issue and help change the culture of paying women, especially working mothers, less for doing the same job as their male counterparts.

It remains to be seen what will happen over the coming years in regards to the gender pay gap, especially for working mothers. As more women delay having children and more men decide to stay at home instead of women; it is an interesting time to see how this could have an effect on the jobs market, the pay gap and family life in general.

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