1. Parenting
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What Is the Motherhood Penalty?


Home working mother juggles work and child minding
Andrew Bret Wallis/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
Question: What Is the Motherhood Penalty?

You may have heard the phrase motherhood penalty and thought it sounded pretty grim. It is. Social scientists call the pay gap between working moms and child-free women -- after controlling for every other variable besides parental status -- the motherhood penalty.

It is a painful reality for working moms that on average, we will earn less and be seen as less committed to work after having children. The motherhood penalty can't be explained away by assuming that working mothers cut back their hours or take time off for maternity leave,, because statistical analyses of the motherhood penalty include these factors.

Other related phrases used in the social science literature include mommy track and glass ceiling.

  1. About.com
  2. Parenting
  3. Working Moms
  4. Your Career
  5. Working Moms Research
  6. What Is the Motherhood Penalty? -- Explanation of the Phrase "Motherhood Penalty"

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.