By Stephen Miller
Debate over the persistent pay disparity between men and women isn't likely to abate anytime soon, but a new study sheds light on the issue—or perhaps tosses more fuel on the fire.
Motherhood is the culprit behind unexplained but significant wage losses for working women in North America, according to the TD Economics report, Career Interrupted—The Economic Impact of Motherhood. The report suggest this "motherhood gap" in wages largely occurs because of wage penalties mothers experience each time they exit and re-enter the workforce.
"Previous studies on wage differences by gender have found that roughly half of an observed 20 percent gender gap cannot be explained by the usual factors that drive wages, such as experience, hours worked, occupation, industry, age and the like," said report co-author Beata Caranci, deputy chief economist at TD Economics. "The research leads us to conclude that exits from the labor force, most often related to family or motherhood—not gender—are the culprit behind this 'unexplained' wage gap."
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