Those who follow me on twitter and some others there and Friday’s blogger know Shelly and I enjoyed a proud parent moment last week. Mid-morning Friday, our son texted “Tweeted out my new article.” I replied “I’ll look congrats” and opened twitter, search out my son’s account to find his article, which appeared in the prestigious journal, Demography. Jonathan, a Senior Research Scientist at Guttmacher Institute, lead authored Does the Impact of Motherhood on Women's Employment and Wages Differ for Women Who Plan Their Transition Into Motherhood.
The authors found no existing “research that has analyzed whether planning status of first birth plays a role in employment and wage differences.” The study examined the impact of the transition to motherhood “on women’s employment and wages according to whether their first birth was planned or unplanned.” It looked at employment, hours, and wages for women who planned their first birth compared those factors with women who did not. Some interesting findings. First off, that women who planned first pregnancies generally experience adverse impacts on future employment and wages. Yet, since more well-off women plan pregnancies, those outcomes do not exacerbate inequality within women. Thus, it points to a need for societal and employer policies that reduce work-parenthood conflicts for less well-to-do women and households where both parents need to work.
Though not a point of the research I always found parental involvement a factor in the success of public schools; I also noticed less successful public schools in communities where both parents needed to work (even where two working parents households contributed to an otherwise middle class lifestyle). My “take away” is the study provides support for public and employer policies that help working parents: supporting family leave, paid sick leave, full-day kindergarten, pre-k, 3-k and daycare and facilitate parental involvement in schooling. Certainly, a discussion needs to be had.
The time has come to really care, so sings Poco in Paul Cotton's Faith in the Families.
As someone who focuses on public policy in his own practice and focused on developing and implementing during my career in government, it makes me proud to observe a child making an impact with his own work.