REALity October, 2018 Ottawa, ON
Motherhood and the Female Wage Gap
Feminists repeatedly point out that women face discrimination, evidenced by the wage gap between men and women. They complain that this indicates systemic and conspiratorial discrimination by the male patriarchy. Their argument is completely false.
Statistics Canada’s document, Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report, 89-503-X, indicates that there is a “family gap”, also called a “child penalty” or a “motherhood earning gap” between men and women. On average, motherhood accounts for most of the gender differences in wages during a woman’s life cycle. In short, there is no gender wage gap but, rather, there is child bearing penalty.
On average, the earnings of women with children are 12% lower than those of women without children, and this earnings gap increases with the number of children: with one child the gap is 9%; with two children it is 12%; and, with three or more children, the gap is 20%. Childless women end up in the same financial position as men.
The female wage gap is a reflection of the lifestyle that women freely choose. Even in men, the wage gap is a reflection of lifestyle with married men earning 47.5% more than never-married single men. A gender gap develops because of the occupations women choose, and how they work during their life cycle. Many prefer part-time work, in order to accommodate their family’s needs. This results in lower wages, which contributes to the wage gap. Women also frequently value occupations in the lower paying service industries, such as the healthcare-giving profession. Further, although 59% of graduates in medicine are female, few choose higher paying medical specialties, such as orthopaedic surgery. Instead, they gravitate to family medicine, which does not require long and expensive additional training, and has more flexible working hours that can be easily adapted to accommodate family requirements. Another major factor in the purported gender wage gap is that women are attracted to jobs, such as social work, that permit interaction with small groups of people, inherently limiting their potential pay. Men, on the other hand, more often apply for jobs, such as planning or executive positions, which impact on a greater number of people and lead to greater financial remuneration.
The STEM professions (science, technology, engineering and math) are not as attractive to women, even though they pay higher salaries. In fact, there are no barriers for women in these fields; it’s just that women prefer other fields of work.
A major factor in women’s choices is that nature has made women, not men, the prime nurturers of children. This love drives women to make their children and families their priority in life, regardless of their professional or employment achievements. This is, indeed, fortunate for society, as well as for women, because there is no higher happiness and joy than giving birth and nurturing life, for those who wish to do so.
That is, to most women (although not all) children are at the very core of their being. They are not merely a side car attached to their lives, but are the central part of their lives. This is due to the fact that there are striking differences between men and women, not just in our obvious, physical differences. Women have a greater inclination to nurture infants and children, which is rooted in the endocrine system and women’s brain structure. Women’s bodies have more receptors for the nurturing hormone, oxytocin, than do men, especially in pregnancy and during breastfeeding. Recent imaging research shows that mothers’ brains change during pregnancy and after birth in ways that seem to increase their “emotional attachment to their babies.” This profound love that a mother feels toward her child is little understood by her until she becomes a mother.
Consequently, all the feminist rhetoric and coercion, supported by governments and the media, to inspire women to join the paid workforce to improve the gross national product (GNP), hasn’t been as successful as expected. Women are too smart for that. They will work in the paid workforce, if necessary, for financial reasons, or to keep a hand in their professional training – but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of their lives. Their family is.
Strong families make strong nations. It is the mother, at the heart of the family, working together with the father, which creates the family. Together they change the future of a nation by way of their stable, well-integrated and well-adjusted children. Their joint efforts must be respected, encouraged and supported even if it does result in wage gaps between men and women.
If women want to be equal to men in financial rewards, they can do so by not having children. Most women do not choose that path.