It is well known that women earn 80 cents for every dollar a man does. What plays a big factor is a phenomenon called occupational segregation. It is the belief that there are gender normal tasks assigned to men and women. For example, mowing the lawn is viewed as “men’s work” while cleaning is viewed as “women’s work.” There is science that proves that this happens when dividing chores for children.
According to BusyKid CEO Gregg Murset, “Harder jobs typically require a little bit more pay. If you’re going to mow a lawn for three hours, that’s a beast, a tough job. Maybe us as parents are giving our girls chores in the house that don’t take two or three hours outside, and there’s a difference in the pay scale.”
As children progress into young adulthood the gap only widens. According to Yasemin Besen-Cassino, sociology professor at Montclair State University and author of “The Cost of Being a Girl,” boys graduate from yard work to clock-in jobs in retail or restaurants and girls stay behind still babysitting, cleaning or picking up other odd jobs. Even when boys babysit they are seen as more valuable being an “older brother figure” when girls are just seen as natural caretakers.
“We put this extra pressure on girls, especially the ones who do care work, that money is in opposition to care,” Besen-Cassino said. “That would translate to chores as well, that they would be seen as not helping the family. The minute something is monetized for women, it’s seen as not loving and caring and being a team player.”
Girls are more likely to be asked to stay longer as parents respect boys’ personal time more than girls. Girls are expected to be less focused on money and not expected to confront parents about raises.
Parents need to have open discussions with their daughters about the fact that they still get paid less than boys.
“This is a really great opportunity for parents to start thinking about what they’re doing and what message they’re sending,” Murset says. “This is a perfect conversation starter for parents who might be looking for ways to discuss their whole financial world with their kids — especially girls, frankly.”