Women pay a high price for motherhood and nowhere more so than in Ireland, according to a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The arrival of children has a more drastic impact on the earning abilities of Irish women than anywhere else in Europe, Closing the Gender Gap: Act Now finds.
Younger Irish women workers outearn their male counterparts, and by a far greater margin than anywhere else in the OECD. But the pay gap is quickly reversed in favour of men once children are involved.
From earning 17 per cent more than men when they have no children, Irish women aged 25-44 go to taking home 14 per cent less in their pay packet when they have children, the report finds.
Researchers say Irish women start their careers earning well because they are generally better qualified than men. But once they give birth, they are far more likely than women in other countries to withdraw from the workforce .
“For many years now, Irish women have had a higher level of educational attainment than men,” says Willem Adema, a senior economist in the OECD’s social policy unit in Paris. “As a result, they are far more likely to work in well-paying sectors such as law and accountancy. Because Ireland’s public sector is smaller than, say, Sweden’s, they are more likely to work in the private sector where wages are higher.”
Women are more likely to work part-time in countries with high childcare costs, the report finds.