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Working Moms Are Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t

PayScale’s report, Inside the Gender Pay Gap, shows that the gap widens for women who are married and/or have children. Even being married, without kids in the picture, can have an impact on the salary of female employees. Here’s how it shakes out:
working moms
Image Credit: mrhayata/Flickr

Single With No Children

The controlled data, which compares only men and women with similar jobs and experience, shows the smallest gender pay gap for those who are not married and don’t have children: -0.6 percent, meaning that women make 0.6 percent less than men. Median pay for unmarried women without children is $47,400, while median pay for men is $47,700. It’s important to remember that even in this situation, a gap still exists. What seems like a tiny difference in annual salary adds up to much more over a lifetime.


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Married With No Children

Married women earn more than single women, but less than married men — and the gap between their pay and married men is larger than when we compare single men and women. Married women earn median salaries that are 1.6 percent less than married men with similar jobs and employment histories.

Married With Children

You can probably guess that the gender pay gap is at its widest when people are married and have children. Married, working moms earn median salaries that are 4.2 percent less than married, working dads.

This is true despite the fact that female employees report prioritizing home life over work less frequently than men. They do it less, yet get penalized for it more by receiving a smaller salary.


When women do prioritize home over work — even if it’s just one or two times a month — they earn median salaries that are 3 percent less than their male counterparts’. In fact, the only time the gender pay gap is 0.0 percent is when we look exclusively at unmarried, childless men and women in the same jobs, who never report putting their personal lives first.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you observed a wider gender pay gap when marriage and children are in the picture? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion on Twitter.

Kirsty Wareing
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