Although the economic independence of women has been greatly advanced in recent decades, it continues to lag far behind men’s in the Netherlands and elsewhere. The negative consequences of motherhood are an important driving force behind women’s abiding lower income. Although mother’s lower earnings have received a substantial amount of attention from scholars and the underlying mechanisms are well established, surprisingly little is known about mitigating factors. This article contributes to the literature by investigating how the earnings disadvantage of mothers is affected by partner characteristics and by parity. We formulate hypotheses about the effect of a partner’s working hours, his earnings and his gender role orientations, on the earnings disadvantage associated with motherhood. Furthermore, we examine the role of parity in this earnings disadvantage. Our hypotheses are tested using longitudinal data from the first three waves of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study. Our hypotheses concerning partner characteristics are not supported. The earnings disadvantage of mothers is hardly affected by them. We do find that parity matters greatly in examining the effect that motherhood has on women’s earnings. The transition to motherhood has a much larger effect on earnings than the birth of subsequent children. The implications of these findings and the specificity of the Dutch context are discussed.

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Community, Work & Family
Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS)

De Hoon, S, Keizer, R, & Dykstra, P.A. (2017). The influence of motherhood on income: do partner characteristics and parity matter?. Community, Work & Family, 20(2), 211–225. doi:10.1080/13668803.2016.1227770