University of Delaware
Sally Bould, professor emerita of sociology, received a fellowship for advanced study in Europe.

Price of motherhood

UD's Bould to study impact of motherhood on retired women's income


10:10 a.m., April 30, 2013--Motherhood has a cost. In the United States, researchers have examined the impact motherhood has on women’s wages and lifetime earnings in comparison to the financial impact on men.

Sally Bould, University of Delaware professor emerita of sociology, will travel across the ocean to further study the impact of motherhood on women’s retirement income in Western Europe. 

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Bould received one of just 18 Senior Fellowships from the European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS) and will complete a nine-month residency at the Flemish Academic Centre for Science and the Arts in Brussels. 

In particular, Bould will work with a team to study the impacts of varying welfare regimes and motherhood policies in France, Belgium, Sweden, Germany and Italy. 

“These countries have different ways of dealing with women in the labor force during childcare years,” said Bould. “The idea is to see if we can identify any impact the different systems have on women’s financial security in retirement.” 

Faced with aging populations and economic tension, many European countries are re-examining their pension policies. 

“This research is necessary in order to proceed with public pension reforms — social security benefits — that do not leave some older adults, especially mothers, without adequate social protection in old age,” said Bould. 

Older adult widows are particularly susceptible to economic challenges because they live in one-person households where there are no economies of scale, according to Bould.

Bould, who begins her residency in October, already has an established record of excellent research. She was named a Fulbright research scholar in 2006 (Luxembourg) and has published several books and articles.

“I’m retired,” said Bould. “But I’m connected with women researchers in Europe and I hope this will help their careers.”


The European Institutes for Advanced Study Fellowship Programme is an initiative of NetIAS (Network of European Institutes for Advanced Study). Created in 2004, the network brings together 17 institutes for advanced study across Europe. EURIAS enables established researchers to work internationally. It promotes the focused, self-directed work of excellent researchers within the stimulating environment of a multidisciplinary and international group of fellows. 

Senior fellowships are only offered to researchers with a doctorate and a subsequent 10 years of full-time research. 

Article by Kelley Bregenzer

Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson

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