Moms Across the Country Are Being Shortchanged

This week marked the 56th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act becoming law—on the same day moms, across race and ethnicities, worked until in order to earn what dads were paid in 2018 alone.

The Equal Pay Act is outdated and insufficient for solving the wage gap or making fair pay a reality in this country—and moms, particularly moms of color, are hit especially hard when it comes to wage and hiring discrimination.

Moms overall are paid just 69 cents on the dollar compared to dads on average. Latina and Native American moms are paid less than 50, and black moms make just 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic dads. In the United States today, being a mom is a greater predictor of wage discrimination than being a woman.

This is a stark reminder that there is more work to be done.

While moms face intense wage and hiring discrimination the moment they become parents, men tend to get wage boosts when they become fathers. The wage gap for moms is sexist, damaging and deeply unjust. This discrimination must end.

The fact that we haven’t closed the wage gap is outrageous, and it harms women, children and our economy. Right now, 64 percent of family breadwinners are moms, and low-income moms and moms of color are even more likely to be their families’ main source of income. The moms’ wage gap makes it even harder for families to afford the basics like food, housing, health care, childcare and education. When moms are shortchanged on their paychecks, entire families suffer.

The U.S. House did its job this year by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes in the 56-year-old Equal Pay Act. At MomsRising, we’re calling on the U.S. Senate to follow suit. Congress should also pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and prioritize policies that will boost families’ economic security—including paid family and medical leave, earned sick days and affordable childcare.

Moms are a serious force for change, and we won’t stop fighting until equal pay is a reality for everyone.


Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner is the author of Keep Marching and Executive Director and CEO of MomsRising—an on-the-ground and online grassroots organization of more than a million people who are working to increase family economic security, decrease discrimination against women and moms and build a nation where businesses and families can thrive.