Instead of writing about one individual woman today, I'd like to share information from New York Times economic write David Leonhardt. In today's paper he wrote a thought-provoking article about mothers and the labor market that punishes them.
Leonhardt uses the Supreme Court as a prototype for the job market. He points out that the last three men nominated to the court were all married and had seven children among them. But the last three women have all been single and childless.
He reminds us that only 15 Fortune 500 companies have a female chief executive, and men dominate the next executive rung as well. Sadly, full-time women workers earn almost 25% less than male employees. And, many experts think it's because there is a price to pay for not following "the old-fashioned career path." And according to Jane Wadfogel, a Columbia University professor who studies family and work: "Women do almost as well as men today as long as they don't have children."
A University of Chicago study found that shortly after graduation men and women usually worked the same weekly hours and had nearly-identical incomes. But 15 years later, the men were earning about 75% more than the women. The only group of women who kept pace with men were those who had no children and (therefore) never needed to take time off. This may explain why so many mothers stop working - since there are few options for part-time work, the switch is made to full-time parenting.
Leonhardt closes his column with this observation: "For almost 200 years, the Supreme Court did not have a single woman on its bench. Sometime later this week, it is likely to have three."
Looking forward to your comments...