Can mothers' part-time working explain the gender pay gap?

Researchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) use Understanding Society data to examine the long-term effects of parenthood and part-time work on the gender pay gap.


The findings are included in a House of Commons Library briefing paper on the gender pay gap and were presented to policy makers from the Government Equalities Office.

The results are summarised in Understanding Society Insights 2018-19.

Findings from the research

The gender pay gap is linked to family formation, with the gender pay gap gradually widening in the 12 years after having a child. Part-time work is an important driver of differences in men and women’s wages after having a child as part-time workers’ wages stagnate. Addressing gender differences in working patterns would make the biggest difference to the gender pay gap for those who have degree-level education as these women have the highest potential for wage growth.

Further information

The full report of the findings can be accessed via the IFS.

The research was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and received support from the ESRC-funded Centre for Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at the IFS.

The House of Commons Library briefing paper ‘The Gender Pay Gap’ is available here.