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The roots of the gender pay gap lie in 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." - Last sentence in article.
I honestly think this is going too far. Everything in life is not about the numerals on the paycheck you bring home. Do you have any idea the value of a good mother? If the sentence is meant to be some kind of Aunt Agony "advice", it really is nonsense talk.
I hope next you are not going to "advice" for the sake of equalizing the pay gap (which in the first instance I think it is a case overstated), it's best to hire a pair of robots for parents. Please TE, don't be so extreme. You are merely aggravating the gender divide, not alleviating it, assuming the latter is your purpose.

Senior Commentator

"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."

which begs the question why should they want to optimize time spend with their children to bridge the gender pay gap to TE can print some nice graphs that satisfy its politically correct reporters? After all raising one's children is a purposeful and worth endeavor. A job is just a job and most folks don't have such exciting jobs.

Tom Meadowcroft

The gender pay gap is now entirely due to choices made by adults (particularly mothers) regarding children and professions. How refreshing to see the truth as revealed by the data printed without caveat.
And yet we continue to hear from various activists that the pay-gap represents society penalizing women because of deep-seeded sexism. TE had better watch out; it could very easily be accused of being staffed by paternalistic monsters, especially that woman in charge, no doubt a traitor to womynkind.

WT Economist

I actually don't think this is the case. If a man chose to stay home with a child or work part time, their career would be set back even more than a woman's. That was certainly the case in my family, where we both worked part time and my career was set back more than my wife. It is just that women are more likely to chose the part time, time out of workforce option.
And in any event, why is that a problem? There is more to life than work, and people are free to set that balance as they wish. We both balanced work and career, in other cases people might go all in on career and skip parenthood altogether -- or marry someone who went all in at home.
Here is some data from the 2016 American Community Survey for New York City.
Median earnings for male full-time, year-round workers (dollars) 51,487
Median earnings for female full-time, year-round workers (dollars) 50,234
Based on the trend, it is possible that the female figure may exceed the male figure in a year or two. What would be said then?

ashbird in reply to guest-sonjsns

I agree 100%.
To quote you: "Completely stupid" !
I don't know if it is an "economist's perspective". An economsit will figure in the value to society of loss of parental child care, which has concrete consequences in the economy.
I think it is a dumb "Feminist" perspective, or some such label.


My husband and I both worked in the financial services industry for over a decade. We were born in the same year and graduated at the same time, with similar qualifications. Yet I always earned more than my husband - and most men that I worked with. So, I personally don’t know about this “gender pay gap”, to be honest.

What I do know is that I was always completely open and honest with potential and current employers about my intentions of falling pregnant and taking maternity leave. I told them categorically that I had no intentions of trying to fall pregnant for the next five years and that I would let them know immediately if I changed my mind. I also stuck to that commitment. When I did decide to start trying, my manger was aware of this fact. I also informed him well in advance that I would need a more flexible job when I returned to work (at a lower wage, of course).

If you treat your company with respect and consideration, the company will look after you. I am convinced that having this mentality ensured that I was always given opportunities and promoted, as well as being very well compensated. That’s also why I could afford to be a stay-at-home mother after I had my second baby!


I want to point, there is not only female penalty of lower income, but male penalty of higher income at expense of health. Having children is generally hard work, however human species somehow cannot outsource it to Asia.
In families where woman leaves work to raise children, man is forced to take better paid and demanding jobs. For most men, rat race, searching for extra jobs and work in the evening is something they do for family only. However, this is not all roses - it takes toll on his stress and health.
It would be interesting to see how is health cost of those men who are single supporters of the family.


A true economic perspective, but, in my opinion, completely pointless and harmful to society. There is huge value in raising children, and modern western society has an enormous issue in not recognising it appropriately.

If the world was run completely by a company's and economist's "book"; no-one would have kids, everyone would make maximum money, then the world would die due to lack of procreation. Completely stupid, but hey - we increased "productivity" and "GDP"!! Woohoo!


The author advises mothers to narrow the alleged future pay gap of their daughters by minimizing the time they spend with them.. But according to this grossly materialistic, pathetically perverse view of human welfare, the most effective means to achieve this would be to remain childless. Not only would they earn more, they would also save the expenses that children add.

ErinCooke in reply to Senior Commentator

So true, Senior! There is no amount of money in the world that could compensate me for hugs I get after school and watching my girls progress emotionally and academically under my care.

Having said that, I also really enjoyed working with all the guys in the dealing room. Being part of the “thrill of the hunt” was fantastic in its own way. Talk about an adrenaline rush! Those guys looked after me like big brothers - and they made me immune to cruel jokes! LOL! It was awesome :-)

Sempervirens in reply to guest-aasaniea

Department of labor statistics show year after year that men work more hours, more years in their careers than women do. Women have higher health care costs, take more time off, and tend to downshift after the kids are born.

It comes down to personal choices. The "pay gap" is a myth.

R77wYfR8Qw in reply to umghhh

Add to that that even testosterone in guys drops after baby is born. (scientifically proven).
This may have negative effect on new fathers' careers, too.
A year or so ago, TE ran an article describing an MRI based study, showing pruning of neurons and shrinking of gray matter in pregnant women, a process similar to brain changes in puberty. It affects creativity and risk taking.
With this knowledge, it starts to look clear that women after childbirth lose some abilities necessary for advancement in highly competitive jobs.
We cannot escape biology. Man and women are not equal but equally important.

umghhh in reply to Senior Commentator

Most of the child raising activities do not require much brain and thus make it stop working unless otherwise activated or teased into action. I know because after divorce I had to take care for my own then little kids. This is what mothers (at least in Germany) say about influence of child having on intelligence. This is especially true when kids are young and problems are diapers and food every now and then. That is not to say that meeting your beloved corporate drone with collection of MBAs is much more exciting but you have some more challenging discussion partner more often at work than when you cater for your little ones. That is experience that I have made as a (single) father. Mother of my kids said exact same thing. So this is my job/child care comparison.
This said, I admit that all these things belong to category - has to be done: -job to get money for bread and butter and if one wants to have kids then kids. All the talk about gender gap just miss the point exactly for this reason. You do things that are necessary. Some of them are paid by somebody else. They all take time, energy and other resources. You want to have kids then, at least in the West, you can split your activities between the partners. This will come at a cost to all taking up the unpaid activity. We can talk about the supporting at home staying partners through the society but talking about gender gap is a nonsense.
This article says it too - the gap does not exist till a child shows up which means that women are not disadvantaged because of their gender but because of their choices. So there is no widespread institutional discrimination as leftist and feminists so love to say - 20% I heard one sunny day. The gap starts when you make this one choice.
OC our species die out if we do not make that choice. But looking at Africa and the rest of the less developed world I do not see a problem in that area, on the contrary. Talking about gender gap is a nonsense. TE should know. If it does not then they should ask for instance Jordan Peterson. He knows and is eloquent enough to say in a way even simpletons can understand. That is if they want to because if one believes in something than this belief may obscure reality and prevent seeing it clearly. Again Mr Peterson and his recent interviewer showed both approaches i.e. rational, polite and factual and irrational bordering on verbal abuse. I guess you have to use that if you have no arguments.


I used to think that women leaving the work force to raise their children was acceptable. I was wrong and I feel terrible.
I am now looking forward to our future as sexless civilian-employees.

ErinCooke in reply to guest-aasasjim

That’s an excellent point! Nothing is for nothing.

To be sure, being a full time mother is extremely stressful in its own way but that’s more on an emotional level. It’s not the type of stress that makes your adrenal levels sore and makes you prone to all sorts of illnesses as a result. It’s more like a grinding, wearisome, depressing kind of stress that can give you borderline personality disorder if you let your emotions get the better of you! LOL!

ErinCooke in reply to umghhh

I always tell other mums who are feeling down because they have lost their job title, status and income that our “bonus cheque” is to look into our baby’s eyes while they are nursing. Our “pat on the back” and “letter of recommendation” is when we hug our baby at night and she sleeps soundly because of our presence. We need to take in these moments and enjoy them to the max, otherwise we will start to feel like “life is unfair”.

Life is never “unfair”, unless you allow it to be. If a man is “standing in your way” at work, it’s not because you’re a woman. He probably does it to other men as well. He’s trying muscle his way up to the top (untalented perhaps?) and you’re in his way, just like anyone else. So push back even harder and teach him a lesson. Don’t bother being nice about it! Be ruthless! It works :-)


I don't agree with the underlying assumption that gender pay gap is something wrong, and women should earn as much as men, even by making compromises with raising children.
This 'equality' immediately pops up as a problem with unsustainable birth rate, lack of young, educated workforce and demographic problem.

ErinCooke in reply to ErinCooke

I intend to teach my little girls that IF they decide to work in the corporate world (being a stay at home mother and working with birthing women is something I personally love and would not trade for the world) THEN they must not hold double-standards towards their managers. They should be the kind of employee they would like to manage.

Wages are determined by demand and supply. I will teach my daughters to make company’s want to hire them and keep them - that’s how to drive up your wage.