Parenthood and job quality: Is there a motherhood penalty in the UK?

Jones, Laura, Cook, Rose and Connolly, Sara ORCID: (2023) Parenthood and job quality: Is there a motherhood penalty in the UK? Social Indicators Research, 170 (2). 765–792. ISSN 0303-8300

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Current research recognises the role of parenthood in contributing to gender inequalities at work. Meanwhile, there is a growing interest in job quality. We contribute to both these debates by analysing differences in job quality by gender and parenthood status, using data from a nationally representative UK household survey. We develop a 12-indicator, multi-dimensional measure of job quality and use this to analyse the combination and distribution of job quality attributes by gender and parenthood status. Our analysis shows that women and mothers are under-represented in high quality jobs and over-represented in poor quality jobs. While some mothers sacrifice career prospects for flexibility, motherhood is not always associated with more flexibility, and job quality disadvantages are multi-faceted. Working part-time is a strong driver of job quality differences, suggesting that reduced hours after motherhood impacts on job quality in addition to worsening women’s pay. Job quality gaps are larger for mothers of school-aged children, pointing to the additional constraints of managing work and childcare around the school day.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: The study reported in this article has been funded by the Nuffield Foundation (Project title: ‘Who can have it all? Job quality and parenthood in the UK’), but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the Foundation. Visit
Uncontrolled Keywords: job quality,motherhood penalty,gender,part-time work,job quality,motherhood penalty,gender,part time work,social sciences(all),developmental and educational psychology,arts and humanities (miscellaneous),sociology and political science,sdg 8 - decent work and economic growth,sdg 5 - gender equality,3* ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Institute for Volunteering Research
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Employment Systems and Institutions
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Centre for Research on Children and Families
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2023 12:30
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2023 04:36
DOI: 10.1007/s11205-023-03214-6


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