Working Mom vs Working Non-Mom – The Salary Divide

I read an article on Business Week Magazine a while ago that discussed the disparity in wages between the salary of the working woman vs the working mother.The writer of the article wrote that two fake resumes were used, one from a working mother and the other from a non-mom.  The article stated that the mom was less likely to be hired.  I would like to see the fake resume of the mom, since I know that in the resume world no one puts anything about being a mom on it, so I find this a bit strange.  Secondly, as a hiring manager myself, we are NEVER allowed to ask any questions to glean information on whether or not a woman has kids.  We can only know that if someone chooses to disclose that information in the interview.

Now, regarding the salary issue.  As a working woman who has been on both sides of the fence, as the non-mom, and now a mom.  I really don’t have an issue with the non-mom making more money as long as she produces more than I do, and puts in the hours I did as a non-mom (>50 hrs/wk).  This is entirely possible given the fact that as a working mom, most of us, if not all:

  1. Balance the kids medical visits and job commitments
  2. We have teachers’ conferences that sometimes takes us away from work and meetings
  3. What about those times we have to take a call from the nanny or the school?
  4. Occasionally we volunteer at school, taking a day here and there

These are facts of working life when we decide to have children and remain in the workplace. It would be nice to have it all, but nothing comes without a price.  This is the very same reason we choose one career over another.  Some of us did not go into sales because there would be too much traveling, other become doctor to make more money, some women go into teaching to get summer off with the kids, even though the pay is less.  There is always a trade off somewhere.  Now this does not mean we should not plan our career wisely, and fight for what we deserve.  Also, if you know for a fact that a non-mom who does less makes more, then I think that may be a good discussion to have with your manager.

My suggestion is to establish yourself while a non-mom in your company.  Be someone that can be counted on to be there, and earn you manager’s trust, and the trust of your team members.  Once you have fought and gotten your salary and position at a comfortable place, having a family will not have a big impact.  However, you will still need to make sure you don’t over commit, and arrange for help with the kids to offset some of the emergencies.  Even if you change jobs, your established position and reputation should go with you to you new company.

The article also points out that the working dad faces no salary penalty, in fact it is a plus for them.  If we think about it though, it’s usually the mom who runs off of the doctors appointment, not the dads in the office.  Again, I don’t have an issue with this as this is the reality of our situation.

Bottom line for me is the word CHOICE.  We choose our jobs and lifestyle by discriminating against other jobs and lifestyles.  When we choose to become mothers and take care of our children, that for most women becomes number one priority as it should be.  If a company want to reward another non-mom for making the company and its work her top priority, that is fine.

In the final analysis, make sure you are treated fairly and in an equitable manner commensurate with your work and skills; and you know what that work is.

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