The so called “motherhood penalty” is more deeply entrenched than I thought in Australia, and it’s getting worse.
According to the Diversity Council, which regularly produces a report looking at the drivers of the gender pay gap, the influence of years not working, i.e. career interruptions, usually related to the birth of children, has more than doubled since the Diversity Council first researched the drivers of the gender pay gap ten years ago.
What’s more, Australia has some of the highest part-time work rates for women in the world, according to the OECD. Only Switzerland and the Netherlands outrank us. And to round things out, 1 in 2 women report experiencing discrimination while pregnant, on maternity leave or when they return to work, and they are spending up to twice as much time on unpaid domestic housework as men.
I’m not telling anyone anything they don’t already know when I point out that over the course of a lifetime, this adds up to the ultimate “motherhood penalty”, with women retiring with on average half the superannuation as men. Older single women are the fastest growing group of people falling into homelessness.