Hallmark doesn’t make a card to give mothers on June 12th – but they should. June 12th is Mother’s Equal Pay Day—the day that marks how far mothers have to work into this year (in addition to working all of last year) to earn as much as fathers did last year alone. This means that, among parents who are working full time mothers need to work for almost a year and a half to make as much as fathers make in just one year.
You may have been shopping for another card recently– coincidentally, Mother’s Equal Pay Day falls not too far from Father’s Day this year. The coming together of these two dates is a reminder that families benefit the most when all parents can succeed in the workplace.
To mark Mother’s Equal Pay Day, here are five important facts about mothers at work:
- Mothers who work full time, year round and have children under 18 at home typically have lower earnings than fathers ($38,000 compared to $55,000), meaning mothers only make 69 cents for every dollar paid to fathers. This translates to a wage gap of 31 cents on the dollar, which is larger than the overall wage gap of 23 cents.
- Even though mothers make less, they are increasingly responsible for providing for their families. Mothers are breadwinners or co-breadwinners [PDF] in almost two-thirds of families with children in the United States.
- Mothers are also much more likely than fathers to shoulder child care responsibilities, even if both parents work. In dual-income households with children, mothers spend almost twice as much time on child care as fathers. And when workplace policies don’t reflect families’ realities, with inflexible and unpredictable schedules and without paid family leave or even paid sick days, it is difficult for parents to balance family and work responsibilities – nearly one in five low-wage working moms have lost a job due to sickness or caring for a sick child [PDF].
- In 2013 the unemployment rate of mothers raising children on their own was 12 percent [PDF] nearly double the rate of all parents.
- It isn’t just mothers who experience discrimination – pregnant women and women who are viewed as potential mothers can also experience employment discrimination.
Mothers’ wages are a key part of families’ economic security – but workplace realities make it difficult for them to support themselves and their families. Fortunately there are solutions: raise the minimum wage, eliminate pregnancy discrimination, support access to high-quality child care and health care, and give workers tools to combat wage discrimination. If policymakers made progress on some of these issues, Mother’s Equal Pay Day wouldn’t be in June.
But in the meantime, when you’re out picking up your Father’s Day card, maybe grab a thank-you card for mom, too.