The cost of maternity leave for lesbian mothers

Pregnant bellyBY MIKE ANDERSON

When we talk about the institutionalized disadvantages of LGBT parenting, we usually talk gay versus straight. In some states, non-blood parents cannot adopt; in vitro fertilization is expensive; before the end of DOMA, filing a tax return with dependents was complicated — the list goes on. When it comes to maternity leave, though, there’s an even finer distinction: between lesbian women and gay men. 12 weeks’ unpaid maternity leave — the standard length — is an $8,769 affair for the average lesbian mother.

This isn’t a new finding, but it’s still noteworthy simply because the numbers are so striking. Between men and women, we see a disparity both in 1) salary and 2) leadership positions: 1) women’s pay decreases with every child they have, while, for men, there is no impact. 2) At the top of the ladder, amongst CEOs, only 49 percent of the women have children; 84 percent of the men do.


Mike Anderson is an analyst for NerdWallet, a financial-literacy company dedicated to helping consumers make better decisions with their wallet.

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