It is interesting to note that the Economist is willing to admit that pretty much the entire “wage gap” between men and women has to do with women having kids, but that is still such a petty way to look at motherhood:
IT IS well known that parenthood tends to hurts women’s careers but not men’s. Numerous studies have shown that as a group, having children lowers women’s lifetime earnings, an outcome known as the “child penalty”. A wide range of individual decisions account for this effect. Some women work fewer hours, or not at all, when their children are young. Others switch to jobs that are more family-friendly but lower-paid. There is also substantial variation in the size of the earnings decline, ranging from zero all the way up to 100% (in the case of women who stop working altogether).
…From 1980 to 2013, the long-run child penalty was about 20%. Because the overall pay gap between men and women shrank during that period, by 2013 the child penalty accounted for almost the entire remaining difference in the sexes’ incomes. Before becoming mothers, women’s compensation more or less keeps pace with men’s. Only once they have children do their economic trajectories begin to lag.
…As the researchers explored potential causes for this phenomenon, they noticed that women who grew up in families in which the mother worked a lot relative to the father tended to suffer relatively small child penalties. Conversely, those who grew up with stay-at-home mothers were more likely to scale back their careers. This suggests that women are heavily influenced by the examples set by their own mothers when deciding how to balance work and family. Tellingly, the working patterns of a woman’s parents-in-law made no difference to her child penalty, suggesting that women’s decisions are not influenced by preferences that their partners may have formed during childhood.
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All of which is a lesson to those mothers who want their daughters to bridge the gender pay gap. Their wishes are more likely to come true if they lead by example when their girls are young.
The most amazing thing that women can do isn’t marching around in their bra and panties on a slutwalk, dressing sexy to get men’s attention or working in a soul-crushing corporate job, it’s being a mother. Women have this incredible ability to bring new life into the world. That, more than any other thing, is what makes women amazing. It’s not their shoes or how many likes they get on Instagram or how often they give tedious speeches about empowerment and “girl power,” it’s having kids.
The whole idea that women would forego having children or abandon them as quickly as possible to make a powerpoint presentation in an effort to impress their boss at the 4th meeting they have next week so they can be one of 9 people fighting to get a district manager job that would mean they’ll be working 80 hours a week is nuts. Men do that to impress women or support their families. Meanwhile, men aren’t impressed by women that do that and if you have a guy at home that can support you, why bother? I’m not saying women shouldn’t work or have careers, but I am saying that 99.9% of the time, a woman’s working life is going to be very small in importance to having and taking care of her children.