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Motherhood - the real cause of the gender pay gap

News release for Mothering Sunday

Two women in Scotland who set up a community interest company to address why financial inequality for women still exists have uncovered what they are convinced is the root cause – motherhood.

Ann Porter and Anne Rendall over three years of research, have found emerging data to show that it is motherhood and everything this entails which leads to the gender pay gap and that this continues on into retirement.

Ann Porter says: “It’s quite clear that when a woman becomes a mother – and 80-85% do - there are three main reasons why they become poorer from the day they find they are pregnant.

There is firstly the physical, emotional, and mental toll of pregnancy;

Secondly childbirth itself and the rarely talked about childbirth-trauma- again both physical and mental

And finally, the reality of what it means to be a mother and to juggle paid work and unpaid domestic labour.

The gender pay gap opens up dramatically when a first child is born, widens over the next 10 years and rises to 40% across a mother’s lifetime. This has not changed in a generation.”

Anne Rendall says:

“This really matters because whilst there is no question that becoming a mother has a negative impact on the financial wellbeing of individual women, this is a problem that affects the entire economy and the whole population.

Despite our best efforts we could not find a statistical record of the number of women in the UK who are mothers – and that includes all women who make up that 80-85% who give birth.

We cannot afford to shut out mothers economically any longer.

It is our belief that as a society, we need to assess accurately the true value of women’s unpaid domestic labour to the economy. Mothers make a vitally important contribution to their families, society and the economy but lose out on economic security, pension contributions and future earnings.

The two women have already begun to lobby governments and policy makers to take their findings seriously and to effect real change so that things do not continue in the same way for future generations of women.

They plan to use social innovation methods, starting with the insights of mothers of all ages, to find fundamentally different solutions to the problem of financial inequality for women – solutions which will properly compensate mothers and recognise the vital contribution they make to healthy economies.

Notes to Editors:

Anne Rendall and Ann Porter are joint directors of Fuel for Innovation,

a community interest company which uses innovation methodology to solve pressing social problems.

Ann Porter is a career social entrepreneur with a track record of founding and building social enterprises from the good idea stage to address social injustices.

She has founded commercial and social enterprises and held senior leadership roles in public service organisations. She created a successful Brighton-based design-led innovation company. She has two adult children.

Anne Rendall was trained as a journalist and became editor of teen magazine.

Jackie before going on to a successful marketing career in both public and private sectors. She is currently an elected member with Dundee City Council but will retire in May to concentrate on Fuel for Innovation projects. She has two adult children.


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