Study Reveals Women’s Earnings Continue To Drop After Childbirth. Is Gender Pay Gap Progress A Myth?

Study Reveals Women’s Earnings Continue To Drop After Childbirth. Is Gender Pay Gap Progress A Myth?

Hearing all the khush khabris of couples expecting, makes me wonder if this new change affects their professional lives as well as their financial situations. Now, I’m not talking about the obvious financial changes such as the expenditure increases, the focus is shifted more to savings, etc. I’m talking about whether the women who take a break to take care of their newborns get enough earnings. Well, my curiosity got me to read this recent study that sadly reveals that new moms’ earnings decrease significantly compared to new fathers’ after the birth of their first child. The study directly states that more efforts need to be made to correct gender pay inequality. 

The latest study by Cornell University reveals that there is a relative drop in earnings among new moms and this is consistent irrespective of the level of education they have. Furthermore, the study goes on to state that the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the matters as the mothers who took a break in the past 2 years will now have to go through worse wage penalties and hiring prospects.

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Sociologist Kelly Musick of the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, who co-authored the study said in a university release that the gender revolution has stalled and that women continue to be economically vulnerable. The study is among the first ever to investigate and analyse how family earnings inequality changes over a period of time – especially after the birth of the first child. 

The researchers of the study analysed a period of about 30 years (the 1980s to 2000s). Surprisingly, back in the 1980s, the wives tended to become less financially dependent on their husbands after they gave birth to their first child. 

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The study revealed that the drop in earnings among new moms was consistent irrespective of their education levels. Interestingly, they found many similarities across education levels and that was because the disparities increased across other aspects of family life.

The study reads, “Across groups, wives become more financially dependent on their husbands after parenthood.” However, the authors of the study believe that the pandemic is a great opportunity to fix the gender pay gap inequality.

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Ritu Sanghvi

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