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Does the gender pay gap begin with allowances?

Women still get paid less than men and a recent study found that a pay gap may exist in an unlikely place.

A 2020 report from PayScale reveals that on average, women are earning 81 cents for every dollar earned by a man.1 And the wage gap is even greater for women of color who are earning 75 cents for every dollar earned by white males.1 Although there are many factors that contribute to wage disparities, unconscious bias plays a role. And it may be that parents are actually contributing to the problem.

Do you give your son an allowance? What about your daughter – does she get one too? And if so, is it the same amount as her brother? You might be surprised to learn that parents are more likely to give their sons a higher allowance than their daughters, according to a survey by BusyKid.

In fact, on average, boys get a $13.80 weekly allowance, whereas girls average less than half as much – just $6.71.2 And parents pay boys an average chore bonus of $17.01, while girls get just $15.54.2

It is important to teach children about money as soon as they’re able to form questions. The topic of an allowance can serve as a good teaching tool. For example, instead of giving your kids an allowance, hire them: Pay them for completing certain chores or performing agreed-upon assignments. But avoid overpaying and be careful not to bribe them to do things they should do for free as members of the household – such as taking out the trash.

If you decide to give allowances, don’t be guilty of gender bias. Treat daughters the same as sons. Age disparity might be a legitimate reason for distinction, but gender certainly is not.


1 PayScale. The State of the Gender Pay Gap 2020. Retrieved February 16, 2021, from https://www.payscale.com/data/gender-pay-gap

2 BusyKid. Gender Pay Gap Starts with Kids in America. Retrieved February 11, 2021, from https://busykid.com/blog/gender-pay-gap-starts-with-kids-in-america

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