Pay and parenting

A majority of women earned more than their partners before they had children, according to a Workingmums.co.uk poll.

The poll of 245 women shows 44% said they earned £5,000 or more than their partner before having children. Some 25% earned about the same and 22% said they earned £5,000 or less than their partner. Nine per cent did not have a partner.
The figures are interesting in the light of research showing that, after having children, women’s salaries tend to drop while dads’ salaries increase, that more women are graduating from British universities than men and that women in their 20s are earning more than men.
Although Workingmums.co.uk‘s annual survey of over 2,500 women shows 18% of women with partners are the main breadwinner in their family, a number which is increasing, many still earn less after having children. Some 56% said they earned less pro rata after having children.
One of the reasons given for women earning less is that they drop to part-time work with lesser responsibilities after having children. Dads are said to be less likely to request flexible working, particularly part-time working, because of financial reasons, but the survey suggests there could be other factors at play, including traditional expectations of women and men.
Shared parenting, which comes in next year, could allow more dads to share leave following the birth of a baby and Workingmums.co.uk‘s annual survey shows 41% of mums would consider this.
Gideon Burrows, author of shared parenting book Men Can Do It! said: “I’m not surprised by these figures at all. They’re exactly what the National Office for Statistics shows, but exactly the opposite of what we all assume: that equality in the workplace has been won. In the workplace, men with children routinely get paid more than women with children and that’s specifically down to women taking career breaks and working part time that many men just aren’t willing – or expected – to do.
“Unfortunately, as this survey shows, the implications run much deeper than an unequal share of the work at home. They affect women’s prospects overall. And the only solution is that men have to take some of the sacrifice that women have always taken, and share childcare more fairly with all the salary restrictions that women have to put up with.”




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