The OECD has undertaken a study on the professional differences between men and women. In addition to the usual wage gaps and the difficulties for women to have access to higher positions in the company, it showed that maternity could have a negative impact on a career.
In all OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, men earn 16% more than women in the same position. The gap increases to 22% in families with children and falls to 7% in families without children. On average, the financial loss for couples with children is 14%. The report highlighted that only improvement of the tax system would reduce this. Indeed, taking into account the costs of raising a child, 52% of a family’s second salary shares taxes and various expenses in all OECD countries, and more than 65% in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland as well as the United States and the United Kingdom.
In practical terms, this means that the financial interest in having a second full-time salary in the family decreases significantly and that it is more advantageous for one of the two parents to not work or to rather choose a part time position. Most of the time, it’s the mother that makes this decision in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Holland and the United Kingdom, which tends to slow or even terminate career development.