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June 16, 2004

Our Society Hates Mothers

Why do women continue to make less money than men?

Because they take care of kids-- or at least that's part of the answer.

And no, it's not because they leave the workplace for years on end and lose skills in the marketplace-- although that's even more deadly for women's pay.

Even women who work full-time and drop out of the workforce for as little as a year see a plunge in pay over their lifetime.

As this report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research emphasizes (and this Business Week summary explains), even women working full-time make far less then men, and taking off even a year of work kills you in the marketplace.

What the study did was follow men and women in the workforce for fifteen years and measure their average annual earnings in that time. For all women, including those who worked part-time or took time off, the result was they earned only 44% of the pay of men over the 15 years.

But even women who worked full-time for the whole 15 years earned only 64% as much as men who worked full-time in the same period. And any woman who took even a single year off from work saw a 32% plunge in earnings. (Men saw a smaller but similar plunge if they took a year off, but few do).

About half of the pay gap comes from the fact that even women who work full-time work fewer hours than men, but the rest of the gap comes from sex segregation in the workplace and other pay cuts for women who try to find careers that let them balance work with taking care of their families.

Somehow you wish all these "pro-family" politicians so obsessed with gay marriage would actually care that our economy is so hostile to women who actually do try to take care of their families.

Posted by Nathan at June 16, 2004 05:54 AM