Motherhood Impacts Women's Earnings, Even in Scandinavia

Gender Pay Gap Widens During Parenthood, While Men's Earnings Remain Stable

Several recent studies of U.S. and European populations indicate that motherhood correlates to a gender pay gap between men and women. After the first child is born, women's earnings sharply decline and do not rise again until children enter school. Women who do not have children continue to increase their earnings at a similar rate as men. While discrimination and other factors play a role, motherhood is the largest contributor to the gap. This is explained by the fact that women spend more time with their children compared to men, and will either work less hours, seek family-friendly — but lower paying — jobs, or take a break from working altogether. 

A new study of Danish men and women, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, shows that even family-friendly Scandinavia follows this same trend. An article in the New York Times compares research from this and other studies and suggests solutions that could allow the gender pay gap to shrink. 

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