“Stories like this sum up the “motherhood penalty” to women’s careers. It is the main reason why the pay gap between men and women in rich countries is no longer narrowing. Employers view long hours as a sign of commitment and leadership potential. But from scarce, pricey child care to short school days, the world is organised for families with a parent at home—and that is usually the mother.
“In the rich and middle-income countries that make up the OECD, the median wage of a woman working full-time is 85% that of a man. This is not, as many assume, because employers pay a woman less than they would have paid a man in her place. Data from 25 countries collected by Korn Ferry, a consultancy, show that women earn 98% as much as men who do the same job for the same employer. The real reason is twofold. Women outnumber men in positions with lower salaries and little chance of promotion. And men and women are segregated between occupations and industries; those where women predominate pay less.”