Research by The Resolution Foundation, to be published this week, shows that the pay gap between mothers and fathers on low to middle incomes has shrunk by almost 25% over the past 12 years, reports the Guardian.
This is partly due to more men working part-time while more women, particularly mothers, are working full-time after having babies later. Older mothers with established careers face smaller wage penalties when they go back to work.
The gender pay gap is now zero for men and women in their 20s, with more women earning more than their partner before having children. This means that, when they do have children, rather than working part-time or giving up work while their partner works full-time, women’s careers have become more important to families.
According to the study, families with children who are solely reliant on a man’s salary are the least likely to escape poverty.
Vidhya Alakeson, director of research and strategy a the Resolution Foundation, said, “Mothers’ earnings are now more important to the living standards of ordinary working families than ever before.” She has called for more to be done to tackle the barriers to female employment and more investment in childcare.
The study coincides with a survey by thinktank Centre for the Modern Family that shows that increased living costs and falling wages mean that 1 in 5 UK families admits they’re “living on the edge” financially, while another two-fifths are “just getting by”, reports the Independent.