For women, having a child is a bad career move, and having one as a highly skilled earner is even worse. For each child she has, a woman suffers a "motherhood penalty" of 4% of income. According to research, published last week in the American Sociological Review, for high-skilled, high-paid workers that penalty climbs to 10% per child. When you’re on the fast track, your income grows quickly, so taking a break to raise children carries a greater cost. High-flying women who take off two years to raise their children will miss out on projects, raises and career opportunities that will have a big financial impact down the line. "Any amount they do drop out or go down to part-time is going to be more costly for them," says Paula England, a professor of sociology at New York University and the lead researcher on the study. That’s one reason fewer high-wage women drop out of the workforce. A Pew analysis from 2014 found that "opt-out moms" — mothers who have at least a master’s degree an...

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