The Value of Parenting: Positive and Negative

Aug 26 2010 Published by under Feminist Musings, Politics

Impact of Children on Salary

Harvard Business Review contains more interesting stuff  in its September issue than it has in the past 6 months. In addition to the study of mentorship vs. sponsorship, their Idea Watch section presents a number of factoids regarding the gender wage gap. Men earn more than women for comparable work, but how does parenthood impact salary? According to Amanda K Baumle's work, men are rewarded for parenthood:

Having children tends to result in higher wages for men, whether they’re straight or gay, married or partnered. Women are not so fortunate: Most mothers make less than childless women, according to Amanda K. Baumle of the University of Houston, who analyzed 2000 U.S. Census data. Only lesbians get a salary bump from having kids; in fact, gay women’s earnings advantage from parenthood is even greater than men’s. Baumle’s theory: In employers’ stereotypical view, lesbians maintain a work trajectory after having children that is more like that of a childless woman or a man. Meanwhile, employers’ perception of straight women’s competence drops when they have children, Baumle says.

For more on the gender wage gap from HBR, click here.

4 responses so far

  • Paul Murray says:

    "Having children tends to result in higher wages for men, whether they’re straight or gay, married or partnered. Women are not so fortunate:"

    Fortunate? When a man's partner has a child, he is expected to work harder. She often stays home with the child (enough to drag the average down). It's beyond belief that the reality that men are expected to pay for a bigger house, pay for a bigger car, pay for her kis that she usually keeps after separation gets framed here as "Why those lucky, lucky men! After kids, their income goes up by magic!".

    Feh.

    • Pascale says:

      The nature of the study does not appear to allow cause-and-effect conclusions. It may be that men with children work harder to provide, in lieu of assuming household duties. However, the finding that gay men and lesbian couples also have salary increases, in general, after parenting makes me think that traditional gender roles in the home have little to do with the findings.

      Whatever the cause, it is food for thought. BTW, 3/4 of women with children are still in the workforce. Many of those "lucky women home with the kids" aren't.

    • Zuska says:

      "...pay for her kids..."

      Wow, did the Angel of the Lord come unto her, and she conceived of the Holy Spirit? Because unless it went down that way, he's not "paying for her kids", d00dche, he's bringing home a salary that, combined with her unpaid labor in the household, is part of what it takes to support the children they conceived together. Only a cluelass gasbag d00dche like Paul Murray would think that the mere presence of dollar bills are all it takes to run a household and raise children. I never saw a dollar bill change a shitty diaper.

  • skeptifem says:

    Paul M- working moms get paid less. Men who are divorced end up wealthier afterwards (yes, even despite alimony). Single mothers are the poorest group of people in the country.

    I know it bothers you to think that sexism really does exist, and that you are part of it, but facts don't really care what you feel.

    I am having flashbacks to the countless times some privileged dude explained to me how hard they worked to get where they were. Prejudice existing, making it harder for others, somehow would invalidate their work, so they deny it exists. Fathoming that it is actually harder for some people is unimaginable to the extremely egotistical. It shouldn't be that much of a stretch, but it is for many.

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