Happy Mother’s Day: Now, about that pay gap

This is the weekend we celebrate moms. Thank you, moms. Without you, there is no us.

Those of us who are dads should make breakfast in bed and send mom out for a massage. But more importantly, Mother’s Day should be a reminder that dad’s duty goes far beyond eggs and toast.

Dads have an essential role in supporting our moms, wives, sisters and daughters whether they choose to stay home or return to work.

When it comes to working moms, us dads play a key role in eliminating the gender pay gap that exists 53 years after President Kenney signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963. Today women earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the Census Bureau.

Iceland leads the world in gender parity, according to the World Economic Forum. The United States ranks 28th, its lowest ranking since 2009.

My own mom left the workforce to raise my sister and I in the late 1970s and early 1980s, returning to work years later. It didn’t occur to me at the time but she clearly sacrificed earning potential to care for us. My wife did the same after the our son was born and the pay gap is real in our own household.

That pay gap continues today even as more women enter the workforce, and it exists even when men and women do the same job, according to research by a Harvard economist. Women who are surgeons, for example, earn 71 percent of what men earn. Food preparers earn 87 percent.

As my own wife pointed out, a Kauffman Foundation report on motherhood and working shows that “women’s work has resulted in more money to spend in the economy and a higher GDP.” Women have helped grow the GDP in spite of the lack of supportive public policy.

So for us dads, the best thing we can do for our moms, wives, sisters and daughters is to take on more of the household duties so the women in our life are freed up to work the same pace and hours we do. Or as Fusion put it, dads need to lean out so women can lean in.

Our wives, families and GDP will be better off for it.

 

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