The gender pay gap gets lots of attention. We follow some of the discussions and are coming to a realization; working parents hold the key to eliminating much of it.
Lots of research suggests that men and women, on average, are paid equally until they start to have children. After that, women's pay often starts to lag men's pay. Some of this can probably be attributed to the long term affects of taking a parental leave after a baby is born; on average women take parental leaves at far great rates, and for longer, than men. As we pointed out in the story Choices and Consequences, experience impacts pay, and every hour of experience matters.
What's the solution? We're not sure that we know how to eliminate the gender pay gap completely, but we do feel confident that shared parental leaves are part of the answer. Just as men and women need to share household duties when they both work outside the home, fathers and mothers need to more equally share parental leaves after a baby is born. This seemingly small step is likely to further close the gender pay gap.
Mothers, ask your spouse to stay home with your baby after you return to work. And when they offer to do this, accept the help!
Fathers, offer to share parental leave responsiblities with your spouse. After your wife returns to work, return the favor and stay home for the same length of time to enable her to fully focus on her career for a bit (just like she did for you).
As we point out in the story Couples That Work, husbands and wives need to support each other and push each other if they want to maximize success at home and on the job. Let's all do what we can to close the gap.