Choosing to parent comes with ‘pay penalty’

The gender pay gap for women in their 20s has halved to just five per cent but the progress will be undone later in life, according to new research. A study by the Resolution Foundation has shown that while the gap is closing, women are still enduring a pay penalty when they choose to have children.

The study found that young women starting in the world of work will still earn “significantly” less than their male counterparts over their careers. The report says the fact the difference in pay for men and women has been closing, is partly down to more women working in high-paying industries and jobs.

The analysis found that baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1965, experienced a pay gap of 16 per cent during their 20s, falling to nine per cent for women born between 1966 and 1980 and then to five per cent for those born between 1981 and 2000 (millennials).

Senior policy analyst Laura Gardiner said: “While many millennial women haven’t experienced much of a pay gap yet, most probably will once they reach their 30s, when they start having children. What’s more, this pay penalty is big and long-lasting, and remains for younger generations despite the progress in early careers. Small hourly pay gaps quickly grow into large lifetime pay penalties that can leave women hundreds of thousands of pounds worse off over the course of their careers.”

The Government said the gender pay gap is at a record low but it is committed to eliminating it completely. Christian entrepreneur Claudine Reid MBE told Premier Youth and Children’s Work that the pay gap can sometimes be misleading as many women voluntarily choose to reduce hours after having children but urged businesses to ensure women are paid fairly. Reid, who’s been voted one of Britain’s top 100 most entrepreneurial women by Real Business Magazine and runs an award-winning social enterprise, said: “Women want to be judged or paid based on their merit, based on the contribution that they’re bringing to any organisation. It’s very unfair to have a woman being paid less than her male counterparts for doing exactly the same type of work. When we look at child-bearing age and we look at part-time roles what we want is equality across the board on all levels.”

Data from Pew Research in 2014 showed 60 per cent of Americans said a child was better off when a mother stays at home to look after a child. That rose to 69 per cent when evangelical Christians were polled.

Monthly Crunch

3-to-4-year-olds spend around 8.5 hours a week online

5-to-15-year-olds spend around 15 hours a week online

73% of 5-to-15-year-olds regularly watch YouTube

34% of 3-to-4-year-olds own their own media device (tablet, games console)

32% of 8-to-11-year-olds and 80% of 12-to-15-year-olds own a smartphone

23% of 8-to-11-year-olds and 72% of 12-to-15-year-olds have a social media profile

(Ofcom Children and parents: media use and attitudes report)