Gender Pay Gap – Caused by Unequal Division of Work at Home and Motherhood


Claire Cain Miller @clairecm MAY 13, 2017

When men and women finish school and start working, they’re paid pretty much equally. But a gender pay gap soon appears, and it grows significantly over the next two decades. So what changes? The answer can be found by looking at when the pay gap widens most sharply.

It’s the late-20s to mid­-30s, according to two new studies — in other words, when many women have children. Unmarried women without children continue to earn closer to what men do.

The big reason that having children, and even marrying in the first place, hurts women’s pay relative to men’s is that the division of labor at home is still unequal, even when both spouses work full time. That’s especially true for college­educated women in high­earning occupations: Children are particularly damaging to their careers.

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