Working moms vs working women: why a wage gap is a big problem

My mom was a working mom. And while I really respect women who choose to stay home with their children or choose to not have any children at all, I always knew that I would end up being a working mom as well. But now a new study has been released by the University of New Mexico that shows moms earn up to 14% less than women who don’t have children. Well, that seems really unfair!

Although we’ve made a lot of strides in the workplace for moms--the majority of moms in America being able to get paid maternity leave, for instance--we clearly still have a long way to go.

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This newest information about the wage gap is bad news for us all. No women can benefit when we're being discriminated against for our different life choices. Professor Kate Krause explains that pregnant women or women with young children still face a lot of prejudice in the professional world:

“There’s much more subtle stereotyping about new mother’s competence and commitment that’s going on in the workplace. You know, we often see women returning from maternity leave who are given less work or dead end assignments. And this type of discrimination really drags down wages for women because they get off track, and pushed out of the workforce.”

Even worse, 26% of women admit that they are fearful of the effect motherhood would have on their career. If I wasn’t in that category before, I certainly am now! Difficulty getting back to work, getting stuck with dead end projects and looked at by other women as if I’ve lost my identity doesn’t sound like much fun to me.

But who’s actually benefitting from this wage gap? Not other women. With women still earning less than men, perhaps we need to take a look at that inequality in paychecks and stop the inequality between working moms and working women. It’s hard enough for us in the work place, we don’t need yet another worry, do we? I hope this wage gap no longer exists by the time I am ready to be a working mom.

What do you think about the 14% wage gap between working moms and working women?

Image via sean dreilinger/flickr