Women in work- The Motherhood penalty

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2023 National Women's Conference
14 October 2022

Conference, the company, PwC, who are leaders in economic analysis in public and private sectors, recently highlighted in their Women in work index (https://www.pwc.co.uk/services/economics/insights/women-in-work-index.html) a fact that we already know – that Women raising children pay a ‘motherhood penalty’ in underemployment, slower career progression, and lower lifetime earnings. The increased burden of unpaid childcare, borne by mothers and women raising children during the pandemic, was a key driver of the disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s employment outcomes overall. In addition, Women in ethnic minority groups experienced significantly worse employment outcomes than white women in the UK.

Experienced women are leaving the workplace and becoming unemployed as they are unable to juggle paid work with additional demands such as caring responsibilities for children and other family members.

Conference believes that women should not be subject to the ‘motherhood penalty’ and only when women and men are considered equal in undertaking childcare and domestic work, can gender equality at work become an achievable reality. To achieve this there must be inclusive polices, such as flexible working without gender bias to be used by both women and men, and equally paid parental leave to redistribute the burden on unpaid leave on women and importantly affordable childcare.

We ask the National Women’s Committee to:

1) Work with the NEC and Labour Link to develop and build upon campaigns to improve flexible working and parental leave legislation.

2. Work with NEC and Labour Link to develop a campaign for the Labour Party to support affordable childcare options for women.