I accepted the gender wage gap as a sexism problem…until I did some research.

Gender pay gap Fig-5_spring-2016


Recent data shows that the gender pay gap is not constant through a woman’s lifetime.

The gap stays low until 34 years of age. Why?

From Claudia Goldin, Professor of economics at Harvard University:

“Some of the best studies that we have of the gender pay gap, following individuals longitudinally, show that when they show up right out of college, or out of law school, or after they get their M.B.A. — all the studies that we have indicate that wages are pretty similar then…  

But further down the pike in their lives, by 10-15 years out, we see very large differences in their pay. But we also see large differences in where they are, in their job titles, and a lot of that occurs a year or two after a kid is born, and it occurs for women and not for men. ” (1)

If someone is out of the workforce for several years, this affects their number of years of job experience.

In addition, women work about 1 hour less than men, per day, which will lower their income in comparison to men, creating an income gap. (2, 3)

Hours worked by gender

What do you think?

Are employers using gender discrimination and causing the pay gap? Or is the gap due to choices made by each gender? Or is it both?

It’s definitely not as simple as I’d thought. And reducing this phenomenon to a one-line sound-bite is irresponsible.  I regret taking this assumption of sexism at face value, just because it was being stated by so many people, even our President. (4)

Another reminder to Think For Yourself.


Graph: http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

(1) http://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-true-story-of-the-gender-pay-gap-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

(2) http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/time-spent-working-by-full-and-part-time-status-gender-and-location-in-2014.htm

(3) http://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/womens-earnings/archive/highlights-of-womens-earnings-in-2013.pdf

(4) http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/obama-announce-new-rules-closing-gender-pay-gap-n506941



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