Despite the best efforts to raise awareness of, and overturn the gender pay gap, it is alive and well – and this latest piece of research from France proves just that.


According to a new study carried out by researchers at the Université Paris-Saclay, mums get paid around 3 percent less per child than their female counterparts who do not have children.


Even more concerning is the fact that men don’t experience this same phenomenon - being referred to as the ‘motherhood penalty’ - at all.


Chief researcher Lionel Wilner also found that mothers are typically assigned to roles with less risky assignments, meaning they are less likely to receive bonuses; this, in turn, keeps them at the lower end of the pay-scale.


The worrying trend seems to be more pronounced right after the woman welcomes her first child into the world.


The research results were calculated using data from a range of organisations in the French private sector, collected within the period of 1995 to 2011.



So, what is the reason behind the so-called motherhood penalty? Unsurprisingly, it’s mainly rooted in discrimination against mothers at work.


Explaining the findings, researcher Wilner said: “Gender inequalities persist within households, in terms of the share of domestic work or bargaining power, but they also exist within firms.”


“The gender pay gap, occupational gender segregation and the glass ceiling are the most striking examples – but an obvious example of gender inequality is related to childbirth. The motherhood penalty accounts for noticeable hourly wage differences following childbirth.


So, do Wilner and his team have any ideas for remedying the ‘unfair and inefficient’ motherhood penalty? They sure do – and we have no doubt that it would prove effective, too.


“It requires further public intervention, including campaigns against discrimination, development of on-the-job childcare, and extension of paternity leave. A paternity leave of the same duration as maternity leave would bring down this gender gap,” said Wilner.