What women don’t want: how many countries still ‘mummy track’ women

Helen Kowalewska is an ESRC (1+3) PhD student at the University of Southampton.

Here, she discusses her forthcoming publication in the Journal of European Social Policy (JESP). She argues that although many women with caring responsibilities want to work full-time, policies across industrialised countries are still channelling many into more poorly paid and part-time ‘mummy track’ careers

Helen was awarded the 2016 JESP/ESPAnet Doctoral Researcher Prize for her paper.


Women earn 33 per cent less than men on average by the time their first child is 12 years old, according to a recent report on the UK. This is mainly because women are more likely than men to take career breaks for children and return as mothers to work in more poorly paid ‘flexible’ and part-time ‘mummy track’ careers that are often well below their skill level. This ‘motherhood penalty’ affects women in other industrialised countries too. Continue reading