Mother's Equal Pay Day

American mothers bring in 40 percent or more of their families’ income. This means that the wage gap impacts their entire households which rely heavily on their wages to make ends meet and build economic stability. Policy change is a vital need for families struggling due to these inequities. Legislators must offer support through laws that promote fair pay, address workplace discrimination and harassment, and ensure the economic security of working families.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force participation rate—the percent of the population working or looking for work— for all women with children under age 18 was 71.2 percent in 2020, down from 72.3 percent in the prior year. This decline in labor force  likely reflects not only pandemic-related job losses, but also the shift of many schools to distance learning and the temporary closure of many childcare facilities during the pandemic. This impacts and reinforces the difficulties caused by the existing pay gaps faced by working mothers.


It’s Time to Stop Treating Parenting as a Mom’s Burden and a Dad’s Adorable Hobby

Policies and structural changes are essential, but on their own those can’t change our cultural attitudes and behaviors toward women.


The Child Care Crisis Is Keeping Women Out of the Workforce

Whether due to high cost, limited availability, or inconvenient program hours, child care challenges are driving parents out of the workforce at an alarming rate.


The Motherhood Penalty: Why We’re Losing Our Best Talent To Caregiving

The motherhood penalty may play a big part in holding women back from leadership positions and contribute to the wage gap.


The Wage Gap Is Wider for Working Mothers

Mothers in the U.S. who work full time are paid an average of 69 cents for every $1 a father makes, or $18,000 less annually, according to the National Women’s Law Center’s (NWLC) analysis of U.S. Census data.


Why the Pay Gap for Working Moms Is a Race Issue Too

To begin to unravel the tangled mess of institutionalized discrimination and racism that exists throughout our country, we must also look deeply into our economic system.


Employment Characteristics of Families – 2021

In 2020, 9.8 percent of families included an unemployed person, twice the figure of 4.9 percent in 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The increase in unemployment among families reflects the effect of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market.



“About one-in-five working parents, including 23% of working moms and 15% of working dads, say they have turned down a promotion because they were balancing work and parenting responsibilities, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau Current Population Survey data. Another study found that 17% say they have been passed over for an important assignment and 16% say they have been passed over for a promotion because they have children. Mothers are more likely than fathers to report each of these experiences.”


Of Women Workers Had At Least One Year With No Earnings


Of Mothers More Likely to Report Child Care Issues Harmed Their Careers


Of Working Moms Have Turned Down a Promotion


Of Employed Mothers with Children Ages 6 to 17 Worked Full Time



According to a National Women’s Law Center’s (NWLC) analysis of U.S. Census data, Mothers in the U.S. who work full time are paid an average of 69 cents for every $1 a father makes, or $18,000 less annually. The motherhood wage gap exists in every state and can mean mothers lose thousands of dollars more than the national figure. The NWLC analysis of mothers working full time, year round features a state-by-state ranking that shows how much less mothers overall are paid.

Report Resources

The Choices Working Mother’s Make – US Census: REPORT

California Budget and Policy Center: What Does It Cost To Support A Family In California?

Breadwinning Mothers Are Critical to Families’ Economic Security – Center for American Progress: ARTICLE


Social Media Toolkit

The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls is excited to share our social media toolkit for Mother’s Equal Pay Day. This toolkit provides content for to help increase awareness about the challenges facing women, and particularly women of color, in the workplace. Addressing this significant disparity faced by mother is critical to ensuring the economic security of women and their families.

Media Toolkit

Access landing page for more information here

Access Mom’s Equal Pay Day 2021 Social Media Toolkit here


“Identifying and correcting the places where intended or unintended inequalities exist is where we begin to rewrite the status quo. We have to approach transformative change with a new lens — one that inspires us individually and collectively to look at our biases, root out our prejudices and work toward a more just future for everyone. So this Mom’s Equal Pay Day, let’s commit to valuing the working moms in our society and paying them their real worth.”

Jennifer Siebel Newsom

First Partner of California