hanks to the feminist movement, women have nearly achieved salary parity with their male counterparts — at least until they have children. Women who take time off to raise kids still pay "a terribly steep price" in lost pay and promotions, says David Leonhardt in The New York Times. While the pay gap between men and similarly qualified childless women has been reduced to a few percentage points, studies show that women overall still earn roughly 23 percent less because so many working mothers never catch up. Is that fair? (Watch Facebook's COO call for more working mothers)
Yes — people who stay at work deserve to climb the ladder faster: The pay gap for moms is just a reflection of society's gender roles, says Daniel Indiviglio at The Atlantic. For better or worse, mothers still tend to be the primary caregivers and fathers the go-to breadwinners. If men, therefore, end up "working more intensely and taking fewer vacations than women, then they should be promoted more aggressively."
"Why working mothers fall behind"
Sorry, sexism is still a factor: Yes, that's the current reality, says Kimberly Palmer at U.S. News, but that doesn't make it fair. After all, men "don’t experience the same pay decline when they become fathers." To me, that demonstrates "that working mothers still need better options that make it easier to combine work and family," such as greater workplace flexibility through telecommuting and "negotiable work hours."
"Working moms with MBAs pay a price"
Why not help moms at work, and dads at home: The best solution is enacting policies that foster equality "at home as well as the workplace," says Monica Potts at The American Prospect, such as offering paid parental leave to men and women alike. Encouraging fathers to make the same kinds of "familial choices" might "put both sexes on equal footing."
"The motherhood gap"
Leveling the playing field is easier said than done: It's "both scary and overwhelming" to contemplate how hard it will be to get companies, and the nation, to change, says Rachel Emma Silverman at The Wall Street Journal, especially during an economic crisis when nobody wants to rock the boat. But little improvements, such as part-time work and telecommuting, would "help many caregivers" without costing employers much, so "they're worth fighting for." After all, as Leonhardt says, it was the small victories that helped close the initial pay gap.
"Women near equal in the workplace, while mothers fall behind"
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