Income lost by women who put their careers on hold to have children has halved since 1980, research by the Cabinet Office shows.
In 1980 having two children cost mid-skilled women 55 per cent of their future potential earnings compared with 26 per cent who work today.
This leaves today’s mothers losing £140,000 compared with their childless peers.
The findings are part of the Women’s Incomes Over the Lifetime: The Mother Gap report, carried out by the Women’s Unit.
It puts the closing gap down to the growing trend for women to put off having children until later in their careers and to improved skills and education.
Higher salary levels provide more of an incentive to go back to work and a greater ability to pay for childcare.