script type="text/javascript" src=""> More blogs about Rachel Bondi.
Earning Power!: May 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Five Reasons Why Men Matter on Mother's Day

Although there are still slightly more stay at home moms, mother’s paid for work outside the home are on the rise. About 49% of women work outside the home today versus 21% in 1900. Of those, over 70% are working mothers according to the monthly labor review. And they are going to work when their children are younger. In 1955, 18 percent of mothers with children younger than 6 years old worked outside the home; by 2000, that number had leaped to 65 percent.

So what does mother’s day have to do with men, other than their obvious role in making women into moms in the first place? Here are five reasons why mothers’ issues are men’s also.

1) The Wage Gap is a Parenting Issue.

Equal pay happens for unencumbered women. According to the census and Bureau of Labor Statistics, women without children have pretty much achieved pay parity with men in almost every field. The dark side of the data emerges for the majority of women; the women who are mothers. Statistics show that the wage gap emerges when women have children, and rises for each child they have, while men’s pay tends to rise for each child that they have.
In society, about 90% of women have a child by age 40. According to 2000 Bureau of Labor Statistics data and a survey by Maloney and Dingle, the pay gap among working women and men emerges most evident among parents. This data also shows that two-thirds of male managers are parents while only one-third of the women managers are, possibly indicating that the choice of combining work and family responsibilities falls harder on women than men.

2) Baby Boom Married Moms Retire Richer.

The most successful generation of working women show us women retire wealthier when coupled.Only about 20% of boomer women will retire well off, according to sociologist and author Nancy Dailey, and the biggest indicator that a baby boom woman will retire well is if she is married. And the higher the working woman climbed on the corporate ladder, the better the pairing. According to the 1993 Korn/Ferry and UCLA survey, when executive women marry, they tend to get higher earning spouses.

Not only did the majority of boomer women never work full time, only 38% at their peak by some estimates, but the vast majority relied on a partner to sustain them economically. Economist Claudia Goldin’s survey of boomer women wanted to know how successful they were in achieving the dream of “having it all”. What she discovered in her survey was that no more than 13-17% of all the women who graduated between 1966 and 1979 managed to reach mid-life with both a full-time career and family.

3) The poorest women, the elderly and single mothers, are those without good men in their lives.

Unfortunately about 75% of elderly poor are women. With the divorce rate so high and 90% of custody being awarded to women, there’s a high likelihood that a woman will not only have to make money take care of herself but the kids, too. Fully 40% of women who are awarded child support don’t receive it, and half of the remaining 60% don’t get the full amount, leaving women to cover for the men’s financial behavior toward their offspring.

Women are the sole breadwinner in one-fourth to one-third of the families in the world. Working single moms are very often the worst off economically. According to the AFL-CIO, if single working mothers earned as much as men for the same positions, their family income would increase 17% annually, and their poverty levels would be cut in half.

4) The most successful working women credit male mentorship.

When men step in to coach careers, women benefit, and so do the organizations. A survey of Fortune 1000 and 500 Service companies done by Korn/Ferry and UCLA reveals that 74% of executive women had a male mentor, and only 15% had a female mentor. Although women make up about half of the workforce, the statistics show that men still dominate most mid and senior level positions. About 99% of the Fortune 500 CEOs are men. About 93% of the CIO’s are men. Allen & Eby (2004) surveyed over 391 mentors and found male mentors tend to provide more instrumental and career support, whereas female mentorships are more often characterized by a greater degree of emotional support.

5) Dedicated Fathers and Husbands Improve Income.

Not only are fathers outstanding mentors for their own daughters, they can increase the family income by getting involved with their children in general. First, active men increase women’s income. According to a University of Michigan study, mothers with male partners engaged with child raising task at home, the urgent house keeping related to children that cannot be put off until the weekend, earn up to 4% more than working moms without.

Also, family men increase their own income. US Census data indicates that men who have not been married earn less than married men. In addition, that correlation between men’s pay increases with each child they have works toward the man’s favor. Unfortunately, according the Census Bureau family diversity reports, about half of all US households are headed by unmarried adults. There are now more one-person households (28.7 million) than there are households containing married couples with minor children (24.1 million).

So on Mother’s Day, remember that men matter. The best gift you can give a mother is to be a good father, partner, and working mentor. For working mothers, this is an especially urgent and extremely rewarding role that makes thing easier not just on May 14th, but our entire lives.