To all the mothers out there who celebrated Mother’s Day last week, we hope you saved up your energy for part two. Tuesday, May 23, is unofficially Mothers’ Equal Pay Day — the day American mothers have to work until to catch up to fathers’ pay in the prior calendar year. Break out the mimosas!
A new study released today by the National Women’s Law Center explains the reasons for needing a Mothers’ Equal Pay Day in the first place. At every education level and in every state, mothers are paid less than fathers. On average, a mother makes about 71 cents to a father’s dollar. (That’s 9 cents below the current national average for all women compared to all men.)
Mothers who work full-time and have a high-school degree make 67 cents for every dollar made by a dad with a high-school degree. More staggering is that mothers have to earn a bachelor’s degree or more in order for their earnings to outpace fathers with only high-school degrees.
The gap is persistent occupationally as well. “For example, one common occupation for mothers — waiters and waitresses — typically pays mothers just $9.12 per hour,” the NWLC’s report says, “while three others — child care workers, janitors, building cleaners, maids and housekeepers; and cashiers and retail salespeople — pay mothers less than $10.50 per hour. However, none of these twelve occupations typically pays fathers less than $12.50 per hour.”
But hey, there’s always an upside. If you’re a mother who wants to make close to what fathers nationwide are making, you could move to Delaware. In Delaware, mothers only lose out on about $10,000 a year as a result of the gender pay gap, the smallest mother-father pay gap in the country. Cheers.