What is the Motherhood Penalty?

Motherhood Penalty_Facebook At PEPS, one of the topics that comes up early in groups is Going Back to Work. Moms and dads share unique and individual reasons for this decision and whether they go back to work or stay at home.

In the groups I’ve led, I know moms who love their jobs. They have great satisfaction in their work and they feel it makes them better moms. And many moms are important and necessary breadwinners for their families.

Still, even as they work to support their families, they have lower earnings than their counterparts without children. Research shows that mothers are often seen as less competent or committed to their work, which translates to penalties in hiring, promotions, and wages.

We often hear about the gap in pay for men and women in the workforce. Right now in the U.S. women earn about 78% of what a male counterpart would earn. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Gaps exist among working women too, with black and Hispanic women earning much lower incomes than white women. And working moms earn less than women without kids.

The Women’s Funding Alliance is a local Washington State nonprofit that is focused on leadership and economic opportunity for women and girls. They are hosting an event at Town Hall in Seattle on April 26 to discuss The Motherhood Penalty.

Shelley Correll, professor at Stanford University and director of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research and Anna Steffeney, founder of LeaveLogic, will talk about how the wage gap between women and men is significant, but not as large as the gap among mothers and women without children. They will present what’s known about the motherhood penalty and how organizations and individuals can address it.

We know several PEPS moms are attending this event and we’re sharing it with our community so that moms – and dads – can attend, ask questions and learn more.


Details and ticket information below.


The Motherhood Penalty vs. the Fatherhood Bonus. A Child Helps Your Career, if You’re a Man – New York Times article by Claire Cain Miller, September 6, 2014.

On Equal Pay Day, key facts about the gender pay gap – Pew Research Center article from April 14, 2015, which is known as Equal Pay Day, shares research on women and how taking “career interruptions” to care for family has an impact on their wages.



Event Details

The Motherhood Penalty

April 28, 2015

Time: 7:00pm, doors open at 6:30pm

Location: Town Hall Seattle (downstairs), 1119 Eighth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104

Ticket cost: $10

Sponsored by Women’s Funding Alliance

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