It is worth stressing that motherhood penalties—work-gap penalties more generally—appear present throughout and beyond the Global North. Our labor market institutions and expectations are still as if designed for a male-dominated paid workforce in which women exit the paid labor force upon marriage or pregnancy and do not return: Eunjung Jee, Joya Misra, and Marta Murray-Close: Motherhood penalties in the U.S., 1986-2014: "Mothers earn less than childless women...

...Although U.S. women’s educational levels and engagement in the labor market have changed over the last several decades, most studies do not analyze variation in the motherhood penalty over time. We know surprisingly little about how the labormarket status of mothers has evolved or whether the role of motherhood in shaping labor-market outcomes for women has changed over the last few decades.... The U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID)... [for] 1986-95, 1996-2004, and 2006-14.... The motherhood penalty remains quite stable over time, and may have worsened for mothers with one child.... The gross gap in pay... has narrowed... because mothers have increased... education and workforce experience. Differential selection into motherhood does not explain these findings.... Changes mothers can make–in their human capital investment, as well as in their employment patterns–may not be enough to create real change...


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