Letter to the Editor

A family issue

San Luis ObispoApril 23, 2014 

Equal pay is not simply a women’s issue — it’s a family issue. In 1967, the percentage of mothers who brought home at least one-fourth of the family income was 28 percent; by 2010, the percentage had risen to 64 percent. For the one-third of employed mothers who are the sole breadwinners for their families, the gender gap can contribute to poor living conditions, poor nutrition and fewer opportunities for their children.

Experimental research has documented that employers are less likely to hire mothers compared with childless women. Fathers, in contrast, do not suffer a penalty compared with other men. Clearly, parenthood often affects men and women very differently in terms of labor force participation and how they are viewed by employers, and that difference may be reflected in a worker’s salary.

Women in “male” jobs such as computer programming still face a pay gap compared to men, even though they may be paid higher salaries than women in traditional fields. It takes more than individual women pursuing careers in “male” fields to ensure fair pay for all — it takes attitude change.

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