Something completely missing from the dialog, in my opinion, is the fact that single parents (which are predominantly women) are very time stretched. Particularly in STEM. I’ve spent my life in engineering, my wife in construction, and we had to make serious concessions with each other’s careers (as a unit) to meet the time obligations of raising kids. STEM jobs regularly require 50+ hours per week in the office. This is not sustainable if you’re also a primary caregiver, and almost impossible even if you’re splitting the child rearing 50/50. I quit my job and started a business, so I could manage a lot of the child rearing duties while flexing my schedule. The only reasonable way to manage it as a two income household both putting in 50+ is to outsource your child rearing, to an au pair or nanny.
The demands of a “higher paying” STEM position are simply not compatible with children, which is one of the main reasons why they’re populated by people who are either single, or have a stay at home family partner. So when that “choice” comes down the line, a lot of traditional families make the choice to put the man in the office.
I haven’t seen a good study on this particular effect, but I see it everywhere.
If I didn’t run my own business, it would be literally impossible for me to take a high paying position with an engineering company as a single parent.