“Before having a child, have an accounting evening as a couple! »

Titiou Lecoq at her home, in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis), on November 17, 2022.

After the success of his essays on the invisibilization of domestic work – Freed! The feminist fight is won in front of the basket of dirty laundry (Fayard, 2017) – and that of women in history – The Great Forgotten (L’Iconoclaste, 2021) – the feminist writer Titiou Lecoq is interested in the question of money in the couple. In The couple and the money (L’Iconoclaste, 2022), we discover how the absence of financial education or taxes contribute to the impoverishment of women, or even why the wealth gap between men and women persists and increases today. And, when a couple decides to have a child, how is the distribution of expenses? Elements of response with the author.

When a woman becomes a mother, she becomes impoverished; when a man becomes a father, he gets richer, explain yourself in your book. Why ?

According to one INSEE study published in 2019 on the professional trajectories of women, they will lose on average 25% of their wage income in the five years after the arrival of a child, while the income of fathers remains stable, and sometimes increases. This is the consequence of a game of representation: an employee who becomes a father knows a professional bonus, that is to say that fathers have better careers than single men. We find here a very traditional distribution of roles: for a promotion, we will think of the employee who has children, because he is responsible, he must ensure for his family. We will consider that we owe her a career, whereas, for women, it will be exactly the opposite: an employee with a young child is perceived as demobilized.

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In the analysis file “The territorial dimension of women’s access to employment”, published by the Observatoire des Territoires in 2021, shows the fact that women have a shorter journey time than men to go to work. By digging, we realized that mothers, in their job search, favor proximity to their home or school; they therefore potentially give up a better-paid job, telling themselves that they must remain geographically available. This is interesting, because these are choices that can be made on a personal basis, without measuring their economic impact.

Do we know who, the father or the mother, pays the most for the children?

It’s complicated, because it depends on the organization of the couple. Is there a joint account? How is it supplied? Sociologist Delphine Roy, who has worked on the distribution and marking of money within the couple, studied couples who do not pool money. While the widespread idea is that the man’s salary is mobilized for the family and that the woman’s salary serves as a complement, the sociologist has found that this is totally false. In couples, the woman will mobilize her personal financial resources, directly and first, before asking the spouse to supplement because it is insufficient to pay all the expenses. Even if she has a lower salary, she will first use it to pay for what makes life for the family: groceries, school fees, etc. And the spouse, he will calculate how much is missing, and then complete.

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