There's only one job where women make more than men in America—and the 'motherhood penalty' only makes the gap larger

For decades now, women have been outpacing men when it comes to post-secondary education. We make up 56% of the population on college campuses (according to the National Center for Education Statistics) but we are still being paid less than men, and the gap gets worse after parenthood.

According to a new report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), there's only one job in America where women make more than men. Women who work as wholesale or retail buyers are killing it, bringing home about $4,000 more than men on average. In all other fields though, we're getting about 80 cents for every dollar earned by our male peers.

Let's look at medicine for example. According to the AAUW report, women who work as "physicians and surgeons are paid $19 billion less annually than if they were paid the same as men in that occupation." The report also looked at the salaries of Registered Nurses, and found men working as RNs make almost $6,000 more a year than women RNs, on average.

For Financial Managers it's even worse. The average guy with that title is pulling in six figures, about $35,000 more than women in the same role.

The pay gap is even worse for mothers. Add to this a large body of research highlighting a significant differential in wages between moms and working women who don't have children, often referred to as the "motherhood penalty." Research suggests that this gap can sometimes be even bigger than the gap between men and women.

We know that this is happening and we know that it is unfair, so how can we change it?

According to the AAUW, change requires action from individuals, employers, and policymakers.

What individuals can do

As women and as mothers, each of us can be our own advocates, and ask to be paid fairly. Sometimes, this means finding out what the guys in the office are making. Simply asking the man in the next cube is one way to do it, but as Eileen Dooley, vice-president of career transition agency Gilker McRae told MoneySense, it's advisable to start with men in your field with whom you have an existing rapport, and just keep the ask kind of general.

"The best way is to ask friends or colleagues," Dooley explains. "You do not have to ask what their specific salary is, as many deem this personal (although it is getting less personal I observe), but you can ask for them to give you a range."

Alternatively, employees (and prospective employees) can also use sites like Comparably and Glassdoor, as well as LinkedIn's Salaries feature to get an idea of what others in your role are making.

Once you know, you can ask for a higher salary, either when you're offered a job or if you want to stay in the job you're in. The AAUW is offering salary negotiation workshops to women around the country if you want more tips.

What employers can do

According to, employers can start moving toward closing the wage gap by conducting a pay audit. You need to know what people are making across your company in order to ensure you're paying people fairly. Managers should also be trained to understand bias and how it can impact things like hiring, promoting and paying women and other groups.

If you're in a leadership role, encourage the women you manage to negotiate. Historically, women have often been penalized when attempting to negotiate wages. We need to change that.

What policymakers can do

Fair pay laws vary state by state, and fair pay advocates say changes are needed at the federal level, too. The Equal Pay Act was signed into law in 1963, but it has not closed the gap, especially for women of color, who see an even greater disparity in their paychecks.

Proposed legislation like the Fair Pay Act or the Pay Equity for All Act could help close the gap in ways the Equal Pay Act didn't.

Bottom line

In 2018, it is extremely hard for families to make it on a single income but mothers often find themselves working less and earning less after becoming parents, when they need financial security more than ever.

Dads frequently see their earnings skyrocket after becoming parents, enjoying a "fatherhood premium" that is exactly the opposite of the motherhood penalty. Outdated societal norms certainly play a role here, but so does a lack of support for mothers.

Without parental leave, or affordable access to high-quality childcare, mothers are often forced off the fast track in their careers. Some quit entirely to stay home with the baby, some start freelancing, consulting or working part-time, and others go back to their jobs and watch as men get tapped for promotions.

Without adequate parental leave, without appropriate places to pump at work or childcare that doesn't take the majority of a mama's paycheck, is it any wonder that a full half of respondents to Motherly's 2018 State of Motherhood survey say they've made changes to their work status—like shifting from full to part-time or quitting to stay home—since becoming moms?

The wage gap is a complex issue. Societal norms, gender imbalances in certain industries, bias, laws and a lack of support are all factors. But with so many women in the workforce, there should certainly be more than one job where we are paid fairly.

You might also like:

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners
International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

It's 2020. The world is changing. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few months into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

Here are all the celebrity babies born in 2020 (so far):

Keep reading Show less