Maloney’s Mother’s Day report shows women with children paid less

May 7, 2015
Press Release
Joint Economic Committee Democrats details economic contributions of Mothers in new report

NEW YORK – In anticipation of Mother’s Day, Joint Economic Committee (JEC) Ranking Democrat Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) released a new report that found the economic security of two-thirds of American families depends upon a mother’s earnings, and that mothers typically contribute about 40 percent to their families’ overall income. The report also found that mothers face a “Mommy Tax,” whereby they are paid 3 percent less than women without children. Fathers, alternatively, face a “Daddy Bonus.” They can expect to earn 14 percent more than their male colleagues who don’t have children.  

“From the cost of diapers, to the crushing burden of daycare, families with children face are fighting an uphill battle every day, as they work hard to get ahead,” said Maloney. “Nearly a quarter of women are the sole breadwinners for their families. They can’t afford to pay a mommy tax. There are several things we can do to resolve this disparity. From equal pay for equal work, to workplace flexibility laws and paid maternity and sick leave, it’s time to give moms a boost and a break. This Mother’s Day, let’s acknowledge the essential contribution of mothers in the workforce and their critical role in the economic well-being of their families.”

The report, titled “How Working Mothers Contribute to the Financial Security of American Families”, and written by the Joint Economic Committee Democratic staff, details the central role that mothers play in the economic support of  their families, the wage disparities between mothers and fathers, and how Congress can help level the playing field.


Key findings of the report include:

  • More than two-thirds of American families rely on a mother’s income.
  • Working mothers typically contribute about 40 percent to their household’s income.
  • 1 in 4 mothers are their family’s only wage earner.
  • While fathers earn 14 percent more than men without children, mothers earn 3 percent less than women without children.


A variety of obstacles prevent mothers from achieving equality as breadwinners, according to the report, including outdated workplace polices on leave and flexibility, high-priced or unreliable child care and gender pay inequity. Maloney is working to pass three bills that could help: The Paycheck Fairness Act, which guarantee gender pay equality; the Flexibility for Working Families Act, which would give employees the right to request flexible work arrangements; and the Federal Employee Paid Parental Leave Act, which would ensure paid leave for federal workers for the birth or adoption of a child.

Several organizations concerned about the report’s findings were on hand for the event:

"Working mothers are the backbone of our families and our economy," said Public Advocate Letitia James. "Women who are supporting their children should not be punished by a so-called 'Mommy Tax' - they deserve equality with working fathers. We must work together to ensure equal pay and increased workplace flexibility laws."

“The alarming facts revealed in this report further demonstrate that income inequality is alive and kicking in this country,” said Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright. “It is appalling to see that income disparities are even more exaggerated when it comes to working mothers.  I am proud to stand with Congresswoman Maloney and all New York mothers today to call for an end to this mistreatment of mothers and women.”

"This new data shines a spotlight on a problem we see all too often--when women have babies, they are punished for it at work; whereas men often earn a 'daddy bonus' simply for fathering a child,” said Dina Bakst, Co-Founder & Co-President of A Better Balance. The motherhood penalty starts when women become pregnant, is compounded by bias and inflexibility in the workplace, and snowballs into lasting economic disadvantages that widen the gender wage gap and harm families who rely on mothers for critical income. This Mother's Day, it is clear that we need stronger policies, like paid family leave, that will level the playing field and ensure that motherhood is not a liability in the workplace."    

"This report reflects the stresses that primary breadwinner women face daily," said Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin, the Executive Director of 40 Percent and Rising, an organization dedicated to supporting primary breadwinner women worldwide. "The efforts of the Joint Economic Committee prove that ending pay inequality and supporting working mothers across all income levels will benefit not just working women but our economy as a whole.”

"Planned Parenthood of New York City applauds U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney for highlighting the central role that women play in their families' financial stability and the need to support them as breadwinners and caregivers,” said Christina Chang, Vice President for Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood of New York City. “As one of New York City’s leading sexual and reproductive health care providers, we care for women every day who, despite working full-time, still struggle to make ends meet and often face the impossible choice of getting the services they need, caring for their children or family members, and bringing home a paycheck.  It is time to close the gender wage gap and put into place policies—such as paid family leave and affordable, safe childcare—that support the well-being of women, their families, and their communities."