Research Find Mothers Miss Out in Gender Pay Gap

According to new research, the penalty of being a mother is hugely contributing to the gender pay gap in the UK, which, after years of progress, has gotten worse since 2020.

Research Reveals Pay Gap Woes

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has released research indicating that a combination of the “motherhood penalty” and insufficient support for women during menopause plays a major role in the gender pay gap in the United Kingdom.

According to the survey, which asked 2000 women in the UK, almost 50% of them admitted that menopause had affected their working hours, resulting in lower pay.

PwC’s annual Women in Work Index revealed that the gender pay gap in the UK has expanded rather than declined, despite more women taking up higher-paid jobs in recent decades.

Decades of Societal Indifference

After decades of societal indifferences where men would take up higher-paid roles than women, such as roles in the fields of science, technology and sports, attitudes are finally shifting.

But despite progress being made in the last few decades as women take up more responsibilities in higher positions, that progress in the last few years is slowing down and in general, getting worse.

According to one of the researchers, Tara Shrestha Carney, the last ten years have seen the pay gap increase, revealing the staggering amount of time it could take to undo the damage.

Carney admitted, “Over the last decade, the UK has consistently lagged behind the OECD on the gender pay gap, and at the current rate of progress it will take nearly half a century to close.”

Largest Decline in OECD Arena

The increase in the gender pay gap and the role that menopause plays has resulted in the country experiencing the largest annual decline among OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations.

The UK suffered a major blow, dropping down four places and sitting at 17th, but new research provides hope that the country can bounce back with a better understanding of the issue.

According to statistics from the campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed, the gender pay gap between mothers and fathers has increased by £1 an hour in the last four years.

Childcare Product Price Rise

According to the CEO of the organisation, it has become “harder for women to have children and earn a decent living” since the rise in childcare inflation. Currently, in 2024, the difference in the pay gap for both full-time and part-time men compared to women stands at a worrying 14.3%.

The gender pay gap in the UK in 2024, standing at 14.3%, has risen above and beyond the global average of 13.5% and shows no sign of slowing down.

Motherhood Penalty Impact

PwC attributes this setback to the “motherhood penalty,” a phenomenon where women face a pay disparity after becoming mothers. The gap starts at 5.2% at the beginning of their careers and widens to nearly 13% as they get older.

Age is a huge contributing factor to the gender pay gap in the UK, with working women over the age of 40 experiencing a higher pay gap than workers below 40.

The research on the ‘motherhood penalty’ confirms that, in the UK, women look after their children for a longer period than men, which affects their career possibilities and contributes to the overall pay gap.

A Mother’s Earnings

Research suggested that in 2023, mothers were earning a staggering 24% less an hour compared to their male counterparts.

Since 2020, workers in the UK have seen the benefits of a work-life balance towards their mental and physical health, however, women have, on average, always opted for flexible work, including part-time roles, to accommodate for childcare and contributing to the gap.

In the UK, there is a significant difference in the amount of women working part-time compared to men, with about 27% more part-time workers being women than men.

Despite society becoming less patriarchal by the decade, the gender pay gap is stalling due to disparities in childcare along with the increasing prices of products, such as baby milk, as the UK recently entered a recession.

The post Research Find Mothers Miss Out in Gender Pay Gap first appeared on Pulse365 Limited.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Marina April.

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