How Much Does My Baby Cost? An Analysis of Gender Differences in Income, Career Interruption, and Child Bearing

Publication Date: 2007 Fall

Source: SO03 Public Relations Journal
Product Code: 6D-010102
Organization/Author/Firm: David Dozier, / Bey-Ling Sha, / Masako Okura
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As in many other professions, public relations has shown persistent patterns of income disparity between men and women practitioners. Previous public relations scholarship has analyzed the factors that contribute to income disparities. Factors previously identified as mediators of the relationship between income and gender include professional experience, participation in strategic decision-making, and manager role enactment. Nevertheless, gender differences in income persist even after controlling for the influence of these mediators. One possible explanation for on-going gender differences in income is that women are more likely than men to take “time out” from their careers to have children. Arguably, such mid-career interruption may result in less accumulation of human capital, depressed upward mobility, and differential suppression of salaries for women. To investigate this possibility, an online survey was conducted in 2004 of public relations practitioners who were members of PRSA. A systematic sample was drawn from the membership list of PRSA; 505 practitioners responded, for a 24% response rate. In the sample, men reported average annual salaries of $93,494 (median=$73,250); on average, women earned $66,467 (median=$60,000). If women’s salaries were not depressed by career interruptions to have babies, their salaries would increase, on average, from $66,467 to $66,615. The $148 (0.2%) increase in annual income is not statistically or practically significant. Thus, career interruption to have a baby does not account for salary differences between men and women practitioners.