Last year on May 30th, was Working Moms Equal Pay Day. It is a symbolic day dedicated to raising awareness of the working mom pay gap. In the United States, this date symbolizes how far into the year working moms must work in order to earn what men earned in the previous year.
This date is based on the % of the dollar earned by working moms. Current women in America with no children earn $.80 for every dollar men earned and celebrated equal pay day on April 2nd.
I didn’t think much about the date or data until I noticed this year it wasn’t the same date as before, and the official date looks to now be sometime in June. I should have dug into this data before, but now I was really curious as to how they got that date and what data was driving this outcome.
I’m a math girl and I love data. I love how black and white it is and often use it to leverage and base decisions on. That said, data can be manipulated based on how you show it. I’m going to share a lot of math with you but I want to be transparent.
In America here is what Wikipedia says are the different equal pay days based on the dollar earned:
- Asian American women make $.85 for every dollar, and their equal pay day is March 5, 2019.
- African American women earn $.61 for every dollar, and their equal pay day is August 22, 2019.
- Native American women earn $.58 for every dollar, and their equal pay day is September 23, 2019.
- Latinas earn $.53 for every dollar, and their equal pay day is November 20, 2019.
- Mothers earn $.69 compared to fathers, and in 2019, their equal pay day is June 10, 2019.
The issue I have with this mother data is the lack of information on how they got it. Asian American women make more money than White American women. Same is true for mothers. So is June 10th the date Asian American Moms earn their full dollar or is it for White Mothers? I wasn’t happy with this answer so I did the math to find out.
Research around the Mother Penalty shows that hourly wages of mothers are approximately 5% lower (per child) than the wages of non-mothers. The research by Sigle-Rushton and Waldfogel found that 81% of mothers with children under the age of 18 made less than $40,000 per year compared to only 44% of fathers. Wage penalty incurred by women for motherhood varies significantly across nations as do work-family policies. What makes this data hit even harder is that women in lower-wage jobs suffer a greater percentage of loss in hourly wages as a result of motherhood than women in more highly paid professions.
A recent study found that the pay gap for mothers with one child rose from 9% in the period between 1986 and 1995 to 15% between 2006 and 2014. For mothers with two kids, the gap held steady at 13% and stayed at 20% for mothers with three or more children.
What is also interesting is Asian women face the smallest wage gap and they earn 97% of what white men earn, resulting in a pay gap of just 3%. White women earn 79% of what white men do, while black women earn 67% and Hispanic women earn 58%.
Using this math and the data we have, here are the true equal pay day for women in America. I also used data I found here on Business Insider and came up with this list. They didn’t have data for Native American so I deferred to the data above given in Wikipedia. The two had close data but it wasn’t exactly the same so makes you again wonder how accurate any of this data is.
Mother’s with 1 kid earn 15% less and it goes up to 20% with 2 kids. So using the data I have, here are Working Mothers in America, equal pay day by ethnicity and by 1 or 2 kids:
- March 15, 2019 – Asian American moms with 1 kid earn $.82 for every dollar
- July 15, 2019 – Asian American moms with 2 kids earn $.79 for every dollar
- August 2, 2019 – White American moms with 1 kid earn $.67 for every dollar
- August 29, 2019 – White American moms with 2 kids earn $.63 for every dollar
- September 30, 2019 – African American moms with 1 kid earn $.57 for every dollar
- October 10, 2019 – African American moms with2 kids earn $.55 for every dollar
- November 10, 2019 – Native Americans & Hispanic American moms with 1 kid earn $.49 for every dollar
- November 29, 2019 – Native Americans & Hispanic American moms with 2 kids earn $.46 for every dollar
I know it is super confusing but when we water down these dates to one, we don’t highlight the real complexity of the issue. We are also not able to reverse how they got that number or date without real raw data.
This is a good lesson to not just believe everything you read and dive into the data yourself to see the truth. May 30, 2018 we celebrated Working Moms Equal Pay Day and now it looks like the official day might be June 10th. Not sure how they got that date and for who? And what kind of mom is this the date for? Is it for the highest paid working moms, Asian American’s with 1 kid?
If I had a choice I think we should celebrate it on November 29th when the last working mom with 2 kids gets her full pay, but then again, maybe I am a bit biased since I am a working mom with 2 kids who’s 24% Native American with Mexican Citizenship.
Here I am pregnant with my firstborn. I started a new job at Amazon and moved to a different state, away from family, for my job. They didn’t know I was pregnant and part of me wonders if I would have gotten the job or the pay I did if they had known.
What day do you think we should call Equal Pay Day for Working Moms in America? Have you seen new or more reliable data on the $ earned for 2019 based on ethnicity and number of kids? If so please share and thanks for reading. * L