mind the pay gap

How a Mother’s Age Affects the Gender Pay Gap

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A study from the U.S. Census Bureau found that the age of a mother when she gives birth to her first child can affect how quickly she is able to close the gender pay gap with her husband, if at all.

As the New York Times reported on Monday, the study, which was published back in November, found that while the pay gap between heterosexual couples doubles after a woman gives birth due to the drop in the woman’s income, women who gave birth to their first child before the age of 25 or after the age of 35 were more likely to be able to close this gap over time.

The Times attributes this to the fact that women who have children before 25 tend to have lower-earning jobs, which generally have smaller gender pay gaps, and women who have children after 35 are more likely to have only one child, making it easier for them to bridge the gap more quickly. Furthermore, these groups tend to have more flexibility when it comes to spending time on child care, because women in their early 20s may not have established schedules and careers yet, and women in their late 30s may be established enough in their jobs to have more say in when they take time off.

While the gender pay gap has narrowed recently, it isn’t predicted to fully close until approximately 2152, and women continue to be financially penalized for having children (also for working part-time, being a woman of color, and living in St. Louis). Ah, the joys of womanhood.

Read the full report here.

How a Mother’s Age Affects the Gender Pay Gap