Brookings Mountain West
Las Vegas, Nevada
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Women in the United States have made monumental strides in recent decades to increase their participation in both higher education and the workforce. As it currently stands, young women are beginning to acquire bachelor’s degrees and professional degrees at higher rates than men and are entering the labor force at record numbers. Aside from these vast societal shifts, a staggering problem remains as the gender gap in pay fails to effectively close. The persistence of the wage gap can be primarily attributed to one significant factor: having children. The motherhood wage penalty occurs when women experience a drop in earnings and workplace opportunities following the birth of their children. Although many factors contribute to this problem, the predominant cause lies in the disproportionate child-rearing responsibilities women inherit and the subsequent career sacrifices they make. Addressing this problem will require a reform of current policy and a move towards a parental leave system that encourages increased participation among fathers. This paper will examine the extent of the problem, identify its underlying cause, explore the deficiencies of current policy, and conclude with a policy recommendation.
Wage gap; Policy reform; Motherhood wage penalty; Gender pay gap
Higher Education | Public Affairs | Public Policy | Social Policy | Urban Studies
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Motherhood Wage Penalty.
Available at: https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/brookings_capstone_studentpapers/2