It’s expensive to be a mom …

Becoming a mother is a big hole in the finances of new moms, and not only because diapers are expensive: the year of the birth of a child, women see their income fall by 40%, and the gap with women who have no children persists for several years thereafter.
It is good news that Quebec social programs seem to be reducing catch-up time compared to the rest of Canada, according to a study presented Tuesday morning at the ACFAS convention.

“What is shown in the economic literature is that mothers have lower incomes than” non-mothers “but paradoxically, fathers have higher incomes than non-fathers,” said the author. Marie Mélanie Fontaine, PhD student in economics at UQAM. Studies have found variations that vary from one country to another, so Ms. Fontaine wanted to know what is happening in Canada and Quebec.

According to Statistics Canada data she analyzed, becoming a mother drags annual income from about $ 32,000 to $ 20,000 in the year of birth. And even after 20 years, these losses are not completely absorbed, on average.

When compared to women without children, mothers earn about $ 5,000 less per year on average, while the opposite is true for men: fathers earn about $ 15,000 more than “non-fathers” .

It’s obvious that taking off work for months on maternity leave can hurt the careers of new moms, but there’s more to it, says Fontaine: “We think it’s because there is a kind of specialization in the couple: fathers become more “specialized” in work [and mothers in the family and tasks]. “The fact that women take on more household chores than men, such as Many studies show that they have less energy and time to devote to their work, or even push for less demanding but less rewarding career choices.

Interestingly, even when the data are corrected to take into account that women without children are not perfectly comparable to mothers (they are on average younger, more often single, more educated, etc.), becoming mothers still withholds 40% of women’s employment income in the year following the birth of the baby.

Long maintained gap

This gap between mothers and non-mothers is maintained for a long time thereafter, but (again when the effect of differences in average age, education, etc.) is canceled out, the difference is reversed after a few years. But it is faster in Quebec: the mothers here take around 4 years to catch up with “non-mothers”, while this time is 11 years in the rest of Canada.

Ms. Fontaine, however, has no definitive explanation for understanding this phenomenon, there may be “a link with the more advantageous family policies in Quebec,” but it could also be due to cultural differences.

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