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Might as well take the rest of the year off, ladies. You’re working for free anyway.


Women, on average, earn 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. With 260 working days in a year, that’s the equivalent of women not getting paid for the last 55 days. Which means that, after November 6th, women are, figuratively speaking, off the payroll but definitely not off the clock.

I’m pretty sure that America’s economy would suddenly grind to a halt if women decided that we could put our feet up and take the rest of the year off. In fact, women in Iceland did exactly that in 1975 – over 90% took October 24th off, refused to go to work, cook, clean, and left the childcare to the fathers.

The move was no doubt effective. After a day of businesses shutting their doors, children running amok in the streets with dads who, at that point in time, had relatively little experience trying to control them, Iceland now has one of the most equal economies for men and women.

The gender pay gap not only hurts women, but for working mothers, it hurts entire families. Even though we’re more than 50 years beyond the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women still face an uneven playing field. Yet there are critics who claim the difference in pay is explainable by factors other than discrimination. So first, let’s look at the two main ways people try to defend the wage gap.

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The pay gap is due to women’s career choices

This is true. Women and men have traditionally made different choices when it comes to a career path. Women are overrepresented in occupations such education and health care, and it’s more common to see men working in construction or in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

But this doesn’t make a wage gap any more acceptable. We have long undervalued people who do incredibly important work, such as caring for and teaching our children – work that has historically been deemed “women’s work” in our culture. Therefore, we have to ask: Are these careers paid less because they’re less difficult and less important, or because we’re still discriminating against women? Although women might be entering careers that pay less due to their choices (or possibly due to social pressures), this does not excuse the wage gap.

At the same time, much more should be done to increase the number of women in traditionally male-dominated fields. Currently, female employees account for less than a quarter of STEM jobs, due in part to factors such as a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and workplaces geared toward traditional gender roles with less flexibility for family.

Although women still earn less than their male counterparts in these fields, they earn more than women in non-STEM positions. It’s unfair to completely attribute the gap to women’s career choices when women are often discouraged and face greater difficulties than men when trying to break into higher paying fields.

Mothers work less than fathers

Any parent knows that once you have kids, you’re working from sun up to sun down, and throughout the night. But again, yes, it’s true that women work fewer hours in paid employment than men do.

The biggest reason for this disparity is that it’s typically women who spend more time caring for children, and sick or elderly family members. With childcare costing more than college in most states, the lower-earning partner (usually the mother) is often squeezed out of the workforce. This not only hurts families in the short run, but the loss of retirement contributions and decrease in potential wage growth is something women pay for over a lifetime.

Mothers also face a biological hurdle: the need to recover from giving birth and to care for a dependent newborn. Paid maternity leave is not guaranteed in the United States – the only industrialized country that fails to support women workers in this way.

Once stay-at-home moms are ready, or can afford to return to work, they face additional hurdles that men do not have in their way. Mothers are less likely to be hired than men or childless women, and are paid less than other women when they return. But this form of discrimination has no justification – mothers with two children are actually more productive than their childless peers. They just aren’t compensated for it. Fathers, however, do tend to receive a bump up in pay after having children.

So let’s recap: Women are overrepresented in occupations that are traditionally underpaid, yet vitally important. They’re also penalized for taking time off to care for children, even though their childcare options are limited, or simply paid less when they return to the workforce. Can it get worse?

Yes. Much.

These quantifiable factors – occupational choices and parenthood – still don’t account for the entirety of the pay gap between men and women. Good old-fashioned gender bias plays a significant role, too.

A study that compared men and women with the same quality of undergraduate education, academic major, career choice, experience, marital status, etc. found that women were earning 12 percent less than men 10 years after college graduation. This disparity can best be attributed to gender discrimination still rampant in our workplaces.

Think we’ve hit bottom? Nope. There’s still room for things to go downhill from here.

While white women are earning less than four-fifths what their male counterparts earn, women of color fare much worse. African American women are earning less than two-thirds, and Latina women and Native American women are earning just over half. This means women of color have already been working for free for weeks, even months, this late in the calendar year.

What can women do about the gender pay gap?

1 | Ask for annual reviews

If your business or organization does not already conduct annual reviews, ask your employer to periodically meet with you to discuss your performance. A meeting of this sort will give you an opportunity to reassert your strengths and contributions, as well as identify any areas that may be holding you back. There is some evidence to suggest that women are less likely to ask for raises than men, so it’s essential to create the time and space to discuss your compensation periodically.

2 | Discuss salaries with coworkers

It’s considered impolite to discuss money in public, but this social norm also has the unfortunate consequence of leaving women in the dark as to whether or not they’re earning less than their male colleagues. Remember – a salary is not a reflection of your true worth, and money does not need to be the taboo subject it currently is.

While potentially uncomfortable, this move isn’t completely unprecedented – the salaries for government positions are typically public, and even private sector companies like Whole Foods have begun to publish compensation data, as well.

3 | Negotiate better

You might have heard the myth that women are bad at negotiating, preferring to demure rather than assert themselves. But one study showed that while women asked for less money for themselves in a negotiation, they negotiated just as aggressively as the men in the study when negotiating on behalf of someone else.

So if you need a little extra shot of courage before heading into a meeting with your boss to ask for the salary you deserve, remember that you aren’t asking just for yourself (even though you deserve it) – you’re negotiating on behalf of your entire family, including your children.

The gender pay gap hurts women and the families that depend on their salary. When we pay workers less than they deserve, the effects are serious. We have a long way to go to ensure that women are receiving equal pay for equal work, including integrating traditionally male or female dominated fields, strengthening our support of working parents through affordable childcare and paid leave, and addressing the discrimination that still exists in our workforce. In the meantime, women can keep asserting themselves at work knowing the facts are on their side.

Or we could just take the rest of the year off.

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Did you hear that? That was the sound of Nordstrom and Maisonette making all your kid's summer wardrobe dreams come true.

Nordstrom partnered with Maisonette to create the perfect in-store pop-up shop from May 24th-June 23rd, featuring some of our favorite baby and kids brands, like Pehr, Zestt Organics, Lali and more. (Trust us, these items are going to take your Instagram feed to the next level of cuteness. 😍) Items range from $15 to $200, so there's something for every budget.

Pop-In@Nordstrom x Maisonette

Maisonette has long been a go-to for some of the best children's products from around the world, whether it's tastefully designed outfits, adorable accessories, or handmade toys we actually don't mind seeing sprawled across the living room rug. Now their whimsical, colorful aesthetic will be available at Nordstrom.

The pop-in shops will be featured in nine Nordstrom locations: Costa Mesa, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL; Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; Bellevue, WA; Seattle, WA; Toronto, ON; and Vancouver, BC.

Don't live nearby? Don't stress! Mamas all across the U.S. and Canada will be able to access the pop-in merchandise online at nordstrom.com/pop

But don't delay―these heirloom-quality pieces will only be available at Nordstrom during the pop-in's run, and then they'll be over faster than your spring break vacation. Happy shopping! 🛍

This article is sponsored by Nordstrom. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Ayesha Curry has a beautiful family. Her girls, 6-year-old Riley and 3-year-old Ryan, are so smart and adorable and youngest, 10-month-old Canon, is a beautiful, growing baby boy.

He's so cute it practically hurts to look at his sweet little face. So Curry was understandably shocked when an Instagram commenter suggested that Canon (again, he is 10 months old) should go on a diet.

Seriously.

The whole thing started when Curry posted a photo taken after her husband, NBA star Steph Curry, won the Western Conference finals with the Golden State Warriors. The group shot shows Curry holding Canon surrounded by friends and family. The problematic comments began when someone asked the mom of three if she was pregnant again.

That question is not cool. It's not okay to comment on a woman's body like that, even if she is in the public eye. Curry recently told Working Mother that she's had times since becoming a mom when she's been depressed about her body, and struggled with her reflection as she's gone from being an NBA player's wife to a successful woman who is landing magazine covers for her own work.

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"I'm not thin; I'm 170 pounds on a good day. It's been a journey for me, and that's why I want my girls to understand who they are—and to love it."

Despite this, Curry took the pregnancy speculation in stride, replying with "LOL" and stating she is absolutely not pregnant.

"My 30-lb. son is just breaking my back in every photo," she wrote.

That's when the comments about Canon came.

"30 at 10 months?? Sheesh," wrote one user.

"30?!?!? He's bigger than my 19-month-old nephew," another commented.

"Maybe portion control his food a little bit," replied another Instagram user in a comment that got Curry's attention.

While she had responded to the inappropriate speculation about her own body with grace, she was not about to take baby body shaming and unsolicited parenting advice from an internet stranger.

"Excuse you? No. Just no," she wrote.

👏👏👏

No is right. It is never okay to presume a woman is pregnant and it is never okay to comment on a baby's weight. Plus, Canon is adorable just the way he is!

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, every baby grows at their own rate, but usually by their first birthday, the average child triples their birth weight. What's important isn't measuring your child against any chart, but that they continue to grow at the same pace they set in the first eight months of their life, the AAP notes.

Many moms can relate to Curry's situation here. People (sometimes well-meaning) seem to think it's okay to comment on baby's weight, but it absolutely isn't. Every baby is different and growing at their own speed, and no one knows what is best for their baby like their mom and dad do so strangers on the internet or even relatives at a family dinner need to keep those comments to themselves.

No one should be judging Canon's weight or Curry's parenting. Canon is 30 pounds of cuteness and his mother knows exactly how and what to feed him.

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When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I attended a party where I ate the better portion of a wheel of Brie cheese. If you've ever had a baby, are thinking of having a baby, or know someone who's had a baby, then you might know that soft cheeses are strictly forbidden when you're expecting—according to most Western doctors, at least. (It's a pasteurization thing. Raw milk ups your chance of ingesting harmful bacteria.)

But what can I tell you? The notion that cheese can be dangerous just seemed ridiculous to me, especially given that when my mom was pregnant with me, they expected I'd be born with a brandy in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

I ate the Brie.

An hour or so later, though, when my stomach started to hurt, I became hysterical: Oh, no. Something is wrong with my baby! What have I done?

I called my doctor, a lovely, sane man who would go on to deliver all four of my children. He listened and then very patiently explained to me that my baby and I were fine. What I had, he told me, was a case of mother's guilt.

"Let me tell you," he said, "it starts the minute you conceive that baby and it will not stop until the day you die."

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Truer words have never been spoken.

As aden + anais, our then-fledgling baby-goods company, continued to grow by leaps and bounds, so too did the size of my family. And though I'd always been a working mom, even before I started my company, the struggle to manage work and family life did not get any easier.

Once while I was out of town on business, my husband decided to take the girls out for ice cream. He stepped up to the counter, flanked by four little girls, giggling and chattering and ogling the display case. The cashier looked down at them, looked back at my husband, and in a small voice asked, "Do they have a mother?"

My husband took it in stride: "Of course, mate. She's just traveling for business."

But when he recounted the story to me later, instead of scoffing at this person's ridiculous question, it was like someone reached into my chest and ripped out my still-beating heart.

Once again, I wasn't there. Once again, I had been away from my girls because of the business. It should go without saying the obvious and insidious double-standard at work here: I have never once been asked, on the days when I'm out and about alone with the girls if they have a father.

Women share a common anguish over juggling their responsibilities. No amount of starry-eyed optimism over the things that women can accomplish in the business world will soothe the guilt of the mom who feels she should be in two places at once: at home, with her children, and at work, doing what earns her a paycheck and what she (hopefully) finds meaningful.

Each of these—children and work—can feel like a calling, we can feel devoted to both. But which one takes precedence moment to moment? What is the cost to our children when we give our career priority in a given moment? These are questions all parents grapple with on a daily basis, even if unconsciously.

Mommy guilt shows up in different ways for different women. It can show up at the grocery store when our kid starts screaming in aisle seven and we think we should have it all under control.

It shows up when we work nights or weekends to finish that project—the one we worked so hard to land—which takes precious time away from them.

It shows up when we don't know how to make the changes they need or we lack the emotional energy to do so.

It's there when the "perfect birthday party" doesn't go as planned and ends in tears and tantrums.

It shows up when we don't have the space to be emotionally available to them, because, well, stuff happens.

For many of us, it starts at pregnancy with pressure to give birth vaginally like some heroic warrior goddess, surrounded by candles and people chanting.

It starts with the phrase "breast is best," which brings with it a heavy load of guilt for those who physically can't produce milk (I couldn't, despite trying for months), or have to return to a workplace with no lactation rooms, or simply prefer not to breastfeed.

It's there when we crave time to ourselves but feel as though we should be giving time to our families because to do otherwise is considered selfish.

Instead of seeing the conundrum for what it is—a Chinese finger trap which keeps us struggling instead of accepting our reality—we strive to do it all. We think we can be a superhero mom and superhero career woman all the time, every day. Not surprisingly, this leads to an incredible amount of burnout.

What I struggled with most, especially trying to juggle a full-time job, growing a side business, and raising an expanding family, is the societal belief that working moms are somehow failing because we choose work, rather than to be with our kids day in and day out.

Women are up against commonly held beliefs that we don't want to work, that we value our careers less than men do, and that huge swaths of us will ultimately leave our jobs to care for our homes and children. (I would guess that every mother reading this was asked at least once during her pregnancy whether she would be returning to work after she gave birth.) The fact that we've had children is often given as the reason that so few women have snagged boardroom or C-suite spots.

The judgment about women's career choices probably won't stop anytime soon. Most of us would say our choice to work is not, in fact, a choice. Most of us either need to work to support ourselves and our families, or we need to work to feel fulfilled.

Was it a choice to work, or to start my business? Not so much. Working was not only financially important to my family, but it was important to me. When I moved from Australia to New York and initially couldn't work for lack of an appropriate visa, I learned that I could not be idle for long without suffering the consequences of lethargy, depression and a total lack of interest in life.

My career is fulfilling, and I'm convinced I would be a terrible mother if I were a full-time stay-at-home mom. Even though I once had to use my whole salary to pay for quality childcare, investing in my career has always been worth it.

Excerpted from What It Takes: How I Built a $100 Million Business Against the Odds by Raegan Moya-Jones with permission of Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Raegan Moya-Jones, 2019.

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In recent months there has been a growing awareness about the tragedy of maternal health care in America, specifically how much more dangerous it is for black women to become mothers. Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely than white women to die during or right after pregnancy than white mothers and racism and the implicit bias of health care providers allows this to happen.

This week, Sen. Kamala Harris reintroduced the Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies (CARE) Act to address this issue."The health status and the well-being of Black mothers should concern everyone," she wrote on Twitter. "I re-introduced my Maternal CARE Act to ensure women are listened to in our health care system."

Implicit bias is basically the ways in which we stereotype people, even unconsciously, and how these stereotypes impact our actions. When it comes to maternal health care, the implicit bias of providers can mean black mothers' concerns go unheard, even when they're paying for the best medical care money can buy.

This is happening to moms at all income levels and is something that Serena Williams has been very open about, and even Beyonce felt the effects of.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "implicit bias may affect the way obstetrician–gynecologists counsel patients about treatment options such as contraception, vaginal birth after cesarean delivery, and the management of fibroids."

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Harris's Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies (CARE) Act would create grants to ensure black mothers have access to maternal care and that healthcare providers are trained to avoid the kind of bias that results in black moms losing their lives, and babies losing their mothers.

Harris has seen this in her own state, where black women make up 5% of the pregnant population, but 21% of the pregnancy-related deaths. California's Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act is seeking to change that on the state level, and Harris is hoping to do the same on a national level by passing her federal act (and winning the Democratic primary).

Her future in the Presidential race remains to be seen, but with Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies (CARE) Act she's trying to ensure that black mothers are seen and no longer overlooked in America's healthcare system.

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We've said it here at Motherly many times: The majority of moms just don't feel like society supports them. Our 2019 State of Motherhood survey found a whopping 85% of mothers feel this way, up from 74% last year.

We've wondered if anyone is listening, but the race for the Democratic primary proves many politicians are.

This week Kirsten Gillibrand, a mom of two herself, announced her new economic policy platform known as the Family Bill of Rights.

In a Medium post published Wednesday, Gillibrand explained that she believes Americans have the right to a safe and healthy pregnancy, the right to give birth or adopt a child, the right to personally care for those children in their infancy and access health care for them, the right to a safe and affordable nursery, and the right to affordable child care and early education before kindergarten.

She's proposing a lot here. Like Senator Elizabeth Warren before her, Gillibrand points out that the "U.S. has the highest rate of pregnancy-related deaths in the industrialized world, and black women are 3–4 times more likely to die during or after childbirth than white women."

Like Warren, she plans to make America a safer place to give birth. She also plans to "require insurance companies to cover treatments like IVF" to make sure that reproductive medicine isn't out of reach for families. She wants to make sure all families, regardless of sexual orientation, race or income level can welcome a child.

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That's why one of her promises is to ensure taxpayer-funded adoption agencies can't discriminate against potential parents, and why she plans to "provide a tax credit to ensure that a family's ability to adopt and provide a stable home for a child isn't dependent on their wealth."

That tax credit would help parents who are adopting older children, and Gillibrand's plan for safe and affordable nurseries would help parents who are coming home with newborns. She plans to provide baby boxes that contain a small mattress and can be used as a safe sleep surface but will also be packed with "diapers, swaddle blankets, and onesies."

And of course, like so many politicians in America right now, she's got a plan for paid family leave, but she's also tackling children's health care in the same breath. "It's past time we create a national paid family and medical leave insurance program, so that everyone can take the time they need to be with their loved ones without having to worry about how they'll pay the bills. And I would ensure that every child has the right to health care, by making the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) universal," she explains.

From there, Gillibrand is committing to universal pre-K and an expansion of the Child and Dependent Care tax credit to help families with the cost of childcare.

With more than 20 competitors running against her and a poll numbers suggesting she's nowhere near the lead, many may not take Gillibrand's announcement seriously. There are a lot of promises in her Family Bill of Rights, but that fact alone reminds us just how much American families are missing right now.

Time will tell how far Gillibrand will get on this platform, but we hope other politicians (in both parties) are listening. Because she was listening to us. And she's got our attention.

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