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Career interrupted: The economic impact of motherhood

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Caranci, Beata & Gauthier, Pascal
Publication Date: 
12 Oct 2010


- An aging population will place greater pressure on firms to attract and retain high-potential women to fill skill shortages

- But, the Canadian workplace may be experiencing a topping out of female participation among the core working age group (25-44) -- the feeder pool into higher level positions

- The unexplained portion of the gender gap appears to largely capture a 'motherhood gap'

- Skills atrophy plays a smaller role in the motherhood gap than first thought

- The length of absence is generally found to be less damaging than the frequency of absences

- Women incur far less financial penalty the more experience they build before exiting, irrespective of the length of time they ultimately remain out of the workforce

- Returning to the same employer also reduces the wage penalty

- Firms should self-explore whether the non-linear career path of mothers is penalized as a negative signal of labour force attachment or ambition