Mothers of three or more children are four times as likely to be unemployed compared to mothers of one or two children, according to Pishnyak's study "Employment opportunities and constraints for women in Moscow."
The proportion of unemployed mothers of three or more children is 63.6%, including those who cannot find a job (9.1%) as well as those who are economically inactive, i.e. not seeking employment outside the home (54.5%). "A woman’s risk of unemployment can increase significantly with the birth of her third child," according to Pishnyak.
For comparison, just 15.8% of mothers of one and 15.7% of mothers of two are unemployed in Moscow, meaning that the employment rate is very similar for women with one or two children. Most of these women, including 12.4% of mothers of one and 14.6% of mothers of two, are economically inactive, while 3.4% of mothers of one and 1.1% of mothers of two seek but cannot find employment.
The proportion of employed women with three or more children stands at 36.4%, compared to 84% of employed women with one or two children.
According to the author, the youngest child of a mother of three is usually a baby or toddler, which might explain why she is not taking employment outside the home.
Mothers aged 20 to 29 are more likely to be unemployed than other age groups. According to Pishnyak, having a baby at this age can increase a woman's risk of unemployment by 1.7 pp. compared to her childless peers (29.8% versus 17.5%).
Unemployed younger mothers include 1.4% of those who cannot find a job and 28.4% who are not seeking employment, often because their children are still too young. Unsurprisingly, younger mothers tend to have younger children, limiting their opportunity to work outside the home. In addition to this, younger mothers without vocational training risk staying unemployed longer (see alsoYoung Women Face Higher Unemployment Risks.)
Employment rates differ for women in other age groups with and without children: the proportion of employed childless women aged 30 to 39 is 9 pp. higher compared to their peers with children (93.4% versus 84.4%), while the difference in the 40 to 49 age group is much smaller at 4 pp. (90.3% versus 94.3%).
Not surprisingly, the risk of unemployment for mothers decreases with age, since older mothers are less likely to have very young children.
According to the study, women with and without children differ in terms of their stated desire to find employment: 65% of unemployed women who do not have young children, compared to just 47% of their peers with young children, stated they would like to find a job. But it turns out that stating one's desire does not necessarily translate into action.
Female Muscovites with children have a higher proportion of those prepared to take up a job right away: 52% versus 36% of women without children; 42% of mothers, compared to just 28% of women without young children, reported seeking a job or starting their own business. Mothers also tend to focus more on upgrading their marketable skills compared to women without children; the proportion of those who have recently taken vocational training/refresher courses is higher in the former group (14% versus 12%).
The study’s findings are based on data from the Moscow and Muscovites survey conducted in 2014 by the Institute of Humanitarian Megacity Development on a sample of 3,109 respondents, including 1,187 women aged 18 to 55, of whom 453 had minor children. In accordance with the ILO definition, women on a maternity leave were considered employed for the purpose of this study.