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What Is the Motherhood Penalty?

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Home working mother juggles work and child minding
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Question: What Is the Motherhood Penalty?
Answer:

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.

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