British fathers in full-time employment earn more that 21 per cent more than their childless colleagues, according to a new study of 17,000 workers. Dads with two children, meanwhile, earn nine per cent more than dads with one child. The reasons for this increased earning power are tricky to disentangle but they are likely to “relate to hours worked, increased effort and positive discrimination”, according to the BBC.
The study by centre-left think tank IPPR for the TUC showed that full-time working men with dependent children worked on average half an hour longer each week than men without children, which hardly seems to warrant the 21 per cent increase in wages.
What seems much more likely is that fathers are seen as more responsible and more deserving of bigger incomes than non-fathers – or indeed than mothers. Discussing the findings, the TUC said international studies cited in the report found that CVs from fathers were scored higher than identical ones from non-fathers, while CVs from mothers were marked down against those from childless women.
Motherhood – and the ensuing childcare-related costs and compromises – is usually cited as a major factor for the gender pay gap. It’s hugely depressing to realise that the discrimination against parents is so massively gendered, and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady reflected on the study, saying: “It says much about current attitudes that men with children are seen as more committed by employers, while mothers are still often treated as liabilities.”
Once again, we have concrete evidence that women are being treated unfairly in the workplace and another example of why we need humane paternity and maternity leave and affordable childcare if we are to ever achieve gender equality in the workplace.