How the Deck is Stacked Against Mothers

Mariko Lin Chang

in Shortchanged

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195367690
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199944101 | DOI:
How the Deck is Stacked Against Mothers

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This chapter investigates the effect that parenthood has on wealth for men and for women. Whether married or single, women who become mothers are placed in a “no-win” situation. For every year a woman is a full-time caregiver, she must work five extra years to make up for the lost income and pension benefits. Even if she goes back to work full-time, she will face a motherhood wage penalty. This chapter also discusses a “motherhood wealth tax,” which is greatest for nonmarried mothers because they are likely to have custody of children and to have less disposable income to save or invest. As a consequence, the gender wealth gap would continue to exist even if men and women had equal incomes simply because women are more likely to have custody of children.

Keywords: parenthood; wealth; pension benefits; motherhood wage penalty; nonmarried mothers; motherhood wealth tax; children custody

Chapter.  6144 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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