Irish women without children make more money than Irish men in a strange reversal of the gender gap reports The Atlantic.

According to a new study done by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Irish women without children make 17% more than their male co-workers.

Childless Irish women are not the only ones with a fatter paycheck. Childless women in Australia, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands also make more than their respective male co-workers. In these countries the gender gap is smaller than in Ireland; generally women make less than 5% more. In these four countries women without children also make more money than their female co-workers who have children.

In the U.S, Germany, Korea, and Japan, men make more than women without children, anywhere between 3 and 24% more. Having children impacts the gender gap. After children, women’s pay in the U.S. is about 15 percentage points behind men’s pay.

In Ireland, women with children’s pay falls just over 30 percentage points behind men’s paychecks. The size of Ireland’s gender gap is only exceeded by the gender gap in Korea. In Korea, women with children make almost 35 percentage points less than their male co-workers. Korean women are expected to leave their job after they marry and female participation has not seen a dramatic increase in the last twenty years.

During the recent economic crisis in Ireland, women have been laid off less than men. Construction, which had been part of the Celtic Tiger boom, is generally a male dominated field. Married women were also able to supplement household income by adding more hours at work. However, these are just a temporary solution. Crisis driven cuts in the public sector employment, where Irish women are under 60% of all employees, will worsen women’s future position in the labor market. 

Closing the gender gap is an important part of building a future stronger economy. The quoted OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria, “Closing the gender gap must be a central part of any strategy to create more sustainable economies and inclusive societies. The world’s population is ageing and this challenge can only be mastered if all the talent available is mobilized.”

According to the OECD report, increasing a father’s individual entitlement to parental leave may increase father’s share in long term care. The report also recommends about increasing female students’ awareness about the consequences education choices have on career and earning opportunities later on. 

Irish women make more when they don’t have kidsGetty Images/Hemera