In a tweet on Christmas Day, U.N. Women, a United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, called motherhood a "penalty" that not "every woman can afford."
The tweet included an image of a fake citation notice for the violation of "being a mother." The violation was issued by "P. Atriarchy" at the "Beginning of time."
The image also listed several supposed penalties incurred by those who become mothers including:
- More unpaid care and domestic work
- Irregular work
- Reduced employment
- Limited maternity benefits
- Gender-based occupational segregation
- Gender pay gaps
- Higher rates of poverty in old age
The insinuation is clear: The world is run by patriarchal systems that deliberately punish women, especially when they become mothers.
The truth about the 'motherhood penalty'
Proponents of correcting the so-called gender wage gap point to data that suggests women make less than men for the same work. You may have heard someone (ahem, the Barack Obama campaign) argue something like "women are paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men."
The claim is based on a 2011 report, in which the U.S. Census Bureau wrote that in 2010, "the female-to-male earnings ratio of full-time, year-round workers was 0.77." The problem is that this figure is taken in aggregate and does not account for the many moving parts that make it up, such as differences in occupation, work schedule, or seniority level.
As a consequence, even the left-leaning organization Politifact ranks the claim as "mostly false."
The argument offered by U.N. Women is a hybrid of the debunked gender wage gap theory. It essentially presents the notion that somehow, upon entering motherhood, women automatically see their wages shrunk and their benefits stripped. The reality is that, upon entering motherhood, women make free will choices that often result in less work or less prosperous work.
Said another way, after a married couple has kids, men tend to take on more market work resulting in rising income while women tend to spend more time at home with the children and less at work.
For a fuller explanation read: The Myth of the Gender Wage Gap.
In its report on the story, The Daily Wire similarly dispels the argument offered by U.N. Women, saying, "Women do not suddenly see their salaries slashed when they become mothers, nor do fathers get raises. Instead, women tend to choose to work fewer hours – leading to lower earnings – while men tend to work more after becoming a father."
"There is no motherhood penalty," the article states. "There are tradeoffs, sure, but the way the U.N. is portraying motherhood is not only wrong, but cruel."
(H/T The Daily Wire)