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PSU McNair Scholars Online Journal

Subjects

Wages -- Working mothers -- United States, Discrimination in employment, Pay equity -- Public policy

Abstract

Several studies have shown that in the United States mothers earn lower incomes than employees of similar qualifications and productivity levels. This phenomenon is known as the motherhood penalty. This paper analyzes the antecedents of the motherhood penalty as well as other factors that result in mothers earning lower wages than other women and men, particularly fathers. This begs the question: what role do institutions play in maintaining wage inequality through public policies, specifically maternity leave policy? In answering this question, both the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 are examined to identify the gaps between current policy and what is needed to promote equality between mothers and nonmothers.

Faculty Mentor: Mary C. King

DOI

10.15760/mcnair.2011.50

Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/8788

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