The motherhood penalty: participation in the labor market and job quality of women with children

Janaína Guiginski Simone Wajnman About the authors


The aim of this paper is to analyze the impact of the presence and number of children on Brazilian women’s participation in the labor market and job quality. Data from Pesquisa de Emprego e Desemprego for six metropolitan regions were used in logistic regression models to assess whether women with and without children differ in terms of probabilities of labor market participation, precariousness of occupation, part-time work and self-employment. Results for men are also analyzed as a counterpoint. The presence of children, especially children of preschool age, significantly affects women's labor market access, reducing the likelihood of participation and increasing the odds of precarious work, part-time work and self-employment. For men, the results are less consistent and often the presence of children is not statistically significant. The conclusion is that gender roles need to be redefined to accommodate the different social roles played by women so that the penalties they face when seeking to reconcile work and family are alleviated.

Key words
Labor market; Gender relations; Children

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