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February 18 2014

High Pay Not Extremely Important to Most Moms and Dads

Carrie L. Lukas

When this Pew Study came out, I focused on mother's preferences for work. The bottom line being that most mothers would prefer to work part-time, rather than full-time.

But I overlooked a chart and some data that also provide an important backdrop for conversations about the wage gap, and why men and women continue to assume different roles in society.

When asked what they value in a job, mothers and fathers expressed different priorities. Significantly more working mothers said that a flexible schedule was important to them (70 percent to 46 percent), and 10 percentage points more men said having a higher paying job was important. Interestingly, both mothers and fathers reported that “a job they enjoy” was of high value (though 5 percentage points more women listed that of extreme importance).  In fact, twice as many mothers said that a job they enjoy is extremely important than said high pay was extremely importance.  That relationship was even true among fathers, and nearly twice as many men valued enjoying a job over pay.

One of the biggest problems about conversations about the wage gap is that it tends to focus on one variable: take-home pay. Yet maximizing income is often not people's priority, and—not surprisingly—it was less of a priority for moms than for dads.

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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