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Advocating for Paid Leave and Affordable Childcare: A Mother’s Day Gift

May 10, 2024

By Aishwarya Sinha, Prevention Specialist at PCADV

Mother’s Day is on May 12th this year, prompting us to consider: is one day of appreciation enough to address the inequities Moms face every day at work?

The wage gap between mothers and White, non-Hispanic men in the United States is substantial, with mothers earning significantly less on average. According to the National Women’s Law Center, mothers who work full-time earn only 74 cents for every dollar a working father earns.[i] This gap leads to a loss of $1,500 monthly, or $18,000 annually. Importantly, mothers of color experience significantly larger wage gaps than White mothers as compared to White men. Mothers who are Black, Native, and Latina earn only $0.53, $.049, and $.051, for every dollar paid to White, non-Hispanic fathers.[ii]

Addressing the wage gap for mothers is a necessary step to combat workplace discrimination, support working mothers, and promote equity in the workforce. This means implementing strategies that support paid parental leave for all genders, affordable childcare options, and addressing the root biases and oppressions that contribute to pay disparities.  

This Mother’s Day, let’s have an authentic conversation about what mothers and birthing people truly need: 

Paid Leave

Paid leave provides the financial support and job security needed for mothers and birthing parents to take time off work to care for their newborns, or newly fostered or adopted children, without facing significant economic consequences. This support is crucial for their financial stability and their mental health. Without adequate paid leave, mothers may be forced to choose between caring for themselves and their children or continuing to work, which can lead to increased stress and burnout.

Women who have access to paid parental leave experience smaller reductions in wages after giving birth, compared to those who do not have access to paid leave[i]. Additionally, paid leave contributes to greater workforce participation and productivity by allowing parents to balance their work and family responsibilities more effectively. It can also help address gender disparities in caregiving responsibilities by encouraging greater involvement of fathers in childcare.

When fathers have access to paid leave, it can alleviate some of the burdens on mothers. It can promote more equitable sharing of caregiving responsibilities within families. This can reduce harmful gender norms and allow mothers to remain more engaged in the workforce without being penalized for taking time off to care for their children. Overall, paid leave is not just about financial support but also about promoting the well-being and mental health of mothers and their families.

Affordable childcare

Affordable childcare is an important piece of reducing the wage gap for mothers, as it allows them to remain in the workforce and pursue career opportunities while handling caregiving responsibilities. Research suggests that access to affordable childcare positively impacts women’s participation in the labor force and boosts their earnings. Affordable childcare options have contributed to an increase in maternal employment among low-income families[i]. A study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that investments in childcare can lead to significant economic benefits, including increased earnings and tax revenues[ii].

Efforts to address the wage gap can help decrease the likelihood of domestic violence and benefit individuals, women, and their families.

What are some strategies employers and infrastructure can provide? 

What can individuals do?

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this year, let’s reaffirm our commitment to supporting and advocating for mothers in the workforce. By implementing supportive policies and advocating for change, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace for all mothers and working parents.

Check out PCADV’s pay equity page for more information on the connections between pay inequity and risk factors of domestic violence. 


National Women’s Law Center (2023). The Wage Gap Robs Women of What They’re Owed. Retrieved from:,month%20or%20%2418%2C000%20a%20year


Chatterji, P., & Markowitz, S. (2012). Family leave after childbirth and the mental health of new mothers. Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, 15(2), 61-76.

Herbst, C. M., & Tekin, E. (2010). Child Care Subsidies and Child Development. Economics of Education Review, 29(4), 618–638.

Institute for Women’s Policy Research. (2016). The Economic Impact of Investments in Early Care and Education: How Economists Calculate the Benefits. Retrieved from