Paternity leave closes the gender pay gap

by Mar 22, 2022

How paternity leave closes the gender pay gap

Women should encourage their partners to take parental leave. Why? Because paternity leaves closes the gender pay gap.


 paternity leaves closes the gender pay gap.

Two of the reasons given for men not taking parental leave is pressure from bosses and their peers. In the UK only 27% of men take their allowance.

The U.S. somewhat astonishingly is one of eight developed countries without a legal paid family leave programme, which leaves it up to individual states and employers to decide. Currently, only eight states require paid family leave. Nationally, only 9% of men have jobs that offer paid paternity leave to every male employee.

In the EU Sweden tops the charts.

Research cited in the Josh Bersin Academy  “The Truth Behind the Gender Wage Gap,” found that Danish women earned 20% less than their male counterparts over the course of their careers, on average. The gender wage gap is generally attributed to sexism and outdated gender stereotypes but the Danish research team decided to dig deeper.

They established that childbirth was the one distinguishing factor between the career progression of me and women. Men’s careers are minimally impacted following the birth of a child, but in Denmark income fell dramatically for women.

The focus up to now has been targeting the gender pay gap.  But we also need to initiate more impactful measures encouraging men, even obliging them, to take paternity leave.

 paternity leaves closes the gender pay gap.


Paternity leave protects women’s earnings

A Swedish study also supports this theory. A woman’s earnings rise by about 7% for every month of paternity leave taken by her partner. Equal access to parental leave is not commonplace across the world, especially for secondary carers and as the distribution of childcare is key to gender equality this creates a problem.

In her book, Pregnant then Screwed Jo Brearly says “Women do the hard graft of growing the baby and giving birth, and some women breastfeed, but beyond that both sexes are just as capable of caring for babies and children.”

Companies could also increase their benefits around support for fertility issues, miscarriages, and stillbirths. There is even international research from 2000 to 2006 which demonstrates a connection between gender balance within a couple and fertility.

So women benefit if their partners participate in parental leave schemes in more ways than the practical way of sharing the load.

3Plus offers a portfolio of gender balance solutions which includes working with you to establish an understanding of the unwritten corporate culture.

New move

But there are also other ways as one man has expressed his shock and concerns after his wife revealed a plan to compensate her for loss of earnings when she had their baby.

The 34-year-old man raised the topic in a post shared to the relationships subreddit on Reddit, where he goes by the username @husbandmaybefather, in a post titled: “She has asked me to pay her almost $50,000 to have our child, and I’m not quite sure what to do.”

The man shared this post but later deleted it but it was tweeted by the account @redditships. He says that he and his wife are “highly independent people” with separate finances and “very career-driven,” which is one of the reasons he is attracted to her. The couple were thinking of starting a family but was taken aback when his wife produced a payment plan to compensate for 6 months loss of salary if she took 12 months off to care for their baby.

The post had 900 comments, many of them in full support of the wife.

So perhaps if organisations don’t close the gender pay gap, and fathers don’t take parenting leave, this is another way of closing the gap and women should take steps to protect themselves financially within their couple  – if they can. Many women (most?) may not have that option.

If paternity leave closes the gender pay gap, it might be easier, cheaper, and more fun if men #BeatTheBias and just do it.

What do you think?


Do you want to address equality in your workplace? Contact 3Plus now!


Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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