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Men are rewarded financially for having children, while women are penalized, Payscale finds

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Dive Brief:

  • Holistically, women earn 83 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to Payscale’s 2024 Gender Pay Gap Report, released Wednesday. This uncontrolled gender pay gap, unchanged in 2024, “represents the unequal or inequitable distribution of employment and opportunities between men and women,” Payscale said. When controlling for job title and qualifications, women make 99 cents for every dollar men earn. 
  • The report identifies the “motherhood penalty” as a primary cause of the difference in pay. Working mothers make a median of 75 cents for every dollar a working father earns, while women and men without children have a pay gap of 88 cents, according to the report, which analyzed crowdsourced data from more than 627,000 people in the U.S. between January 2022 and January 2024. Among men, fathers typically make a median 15% more than their male counterparts without children, per the report. 
  • As women advance in their careers, the gender pay gap widens from a median of 87 cents when they join the workforce to 82 cents by ages 30-44 and up to 74 cents by age 45, the report found. The gap also increases for women who work remotely; women working in person earn a median of 89 cents for every dollar a man makes, while those who work remotely make 79 cents.

Dive Insight:

Despite pay transparency laws going into effect across the country, the gender pay gap plateaued in 2024, the report found. 

“Pay transparency laws present a unique and distinct advantage for those entering the job market, especially to those affected by pay gaps such as women. Candidates now have access to salaries on job postings before applying, which gives them an understanding about how to negotiate their compensation. The laws also empower women to seek higher paying roles, helping to end a long cycle of inequality,” Lulu Seikaly, senior corporate employment attorney at Payscale, said in a statement. “We are still in the early days of pay transparency legislation, but as these laws roll out globally, we hope to start seeing a significant impact soon.”

The gap is narrowing for certain segments, however, Ruth Thomas, pay equity strategist at Payscale, said in the news release.

The uncontrolled gender pay gaps for women of color, in particular, are closing, the report found. Since 2019, the uncontrolled gender pay gap has narrowed by 5 cents for Black women and for American Indian and Native Alaskan women and by 4 cents for Hispanic women and for women who are Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander .

To address the gender pay gap, organizations need to focus on pay equity in compensation management and on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging practices, Thomas said.

“Fair pay doesn’t just happen. Employers need to proactively create equitable opportunities and measure equitable outcomes,” she said. 

Part of that involves finding ways to encourage participation by women in male-dominated fields and addressing labor supply imbalances across sectors, according to a January report by S&P Global Ratings.

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