• September 1, 2014

Still Earning Less

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Brian Taylor

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Brian Taylor

Consider a few facts: Women are now half of all workers on U.S. payrolls; there is no longer a clear timeline for marriage and childbirth; and a record 40 percent of children born in 2007 had unmarried mothers. Those figures are from a recently published study, led by Maria Shriver, called "The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything."

The study also found that nearly two-thirds of women are either the main breadwinners or co-breadwinners in their families. Nonetheless, they still earn less than men, while handling more than their fair share of caregiving responsibilities at home.

My contribution to "The Shriver Report" focused on higher education. Does it prepare women to become breadwinners? The good news is that women today receive 62 percent of associate degrees, 57 percent of bachelor's degrees, 60 percent of master's degrees, half of all professional degrees (including law and medicine), and just under half of all Ph.D.'s

Now for the bad news: Our economy is increasingly dependent on workers skilled in advanced technology, but at each education level, from K-12 onward, structural barriers discourage women from entering into the challenging, and much higher-paid, fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Women are diverted from such fields at each stage of their education. In K-12, girls receive less encouragement than boys in math and science. In high-school programs, they are channeled into certain service professions, like hair styling rather than computer repair. At the undergraduate level, women are clustered in education and health programs, while men dominate engineering and the physical sciences.

In graduate school, the segregation is even more pronounced, and fewer women still go on to careers in academic science. Even in professional schools like medicine, with gender parity in admissions, women are far more likely to train in the lower-paying specialties of primary care. At every level, the American educational system is failing young women by encouraging them to take a route that leads to lower pay, a route that will eventually limit them in providing for their families.

Once a woman has chosen a career, whether traditional or not, inflexible workplace policies can exacerbate gender inequalities. In higher education, if they pursue advanced degrees, such as a Ph.D., an M.D., or an M.B.A., women find that their institutions probably do not support them in starting a family even if they are in their 30s, their chief reproductive years. That discovery causes many women to turn away from their original career goals and seek less demanding career tracks.

After completing their education, whether it is a bachelor's or a graduate degree, many women enter the work force only to find that their employers do not offer support systems that allow women and men to balance challenging career and family obligations while rising to positions of leadership and higher pay. Instead, most workplaces still maintain the structure established in the 19th century, when husbands worked full time and never had to consider taking time off to care for a family member, because they had wives at home to attend to such matters. Under that model today, workers are penalized for working less than full time, or for taking a break from their jobs to care for their families.

Even as women have increasingly become breadwinners, however, they have not abdicated their role as family caregivers. Our research shows that the second shift is alive and well in academe. From the graduate student through the faculty ranks, academic mothers routinely put in 15 or more hours a week than fathers do. Other studies show that this pattern crosses all workplaces.

As a result, women bear the brunt of antiquated work policies. Unfortunately, here in the United States, one of the few industrialized countries that does not routinely offer paid family leave, there are few workplaces, whether scientific laboratories or retail stores, that have strong incentives to create flexible family-leave policies. Denied flexibility, many women are also denied raises and promotions, with the wage gap widening as a result.

Although women have narrowed that wage gap nationally, they still earn only about 78 cents to the dollar earned by men for the same work. That average can vary widely by field. Women in sales occupations earn just 64.8 percent of men's wages in equivalent positions. At the higher end of the wage scale, female corporate executives earn 72 cents to the dollar earned by men; female partners in law firms, 68 cents; and female doctors, 59 cents.

When compared with men's pay at the same level of educational attainment, women's pay is even more unequal: Women earn only 67 cents to their male counterparts' $1. That difference remains steady at every level of education.

The discrepancy between men and women is even more skewed at the top power positions. Only 9 percent of the members of the National Academy of Science are women, only 8 percent of the nation's top corporate managers, and only 5 percent of managing partners in large law firms. In Congress, female senators and representatives account for only 17 percent of their chambers' membership. Without equal representation in positions of power, we as a society have less will to make the structural changes that would allow women to achieve equity in education and in the workplace.

Simply opening the door to higher education has not allowed women to achieve gender equity in the work force. Education does lead to higher incomes for women, but female breadwinners will continue to take home less than their male counterparts until educational segregation is eliminated and workplaces adopt flexible policies.

The hopeful news is that the educational system may finally be poised for change. Women now represent over 50 percent of the American work force. As women become equal in numbers and take on more leadership positions, traditional workplace policies may be revised to allow for alternate career ladders.

We have seen significant changes among institutions of higher education in the past 10 years, and many corporations have gone further. And our existing gender-equity laws, particularly Title IX, are being looked at in new ways. President Obama and others have urged equitable enforcement of Title IX as a tool to level the playing field for women in math and science, much as it has done in sports. But women themselves must realize their responsibilities and make appropriate career choices—ones that will give them breadwinner capacity.

In our studies, women rarely imagine themselves to be primary breadwinners, even when they are. The myth of the male breadwinner dies hard, but it is just a myth.

Mary Ann Mason is a professor and co-director of the Berkeley Law Center on Health, Economic & Family Security and the author (with her daughter, Eve Ekman), of Mothers on the Fast Track. She writes regularly on work and family issues for our Balancing Act column, and invites readers to send in questions or personal concerns about those issues to careers@chronicle.com or to mamason@law.berkeley.edu.

Comments

1. pkoritansky - January 13, 2010 at 07:59 am

These are all good points, but we have to be careful here. Just looking at salary data, for example, will mislead. Take the AAUP salary data here on the Chronicle's site, which is divided up by gender and seemingly illustrating that women are paid less than men at nearly every college and university in the U.S. Institutions that have aggressive initiatives to hire women will automatically appear, according to this data, to be more unfair than institutions that continue to hire predominantly male faculty. For instance, a small college that employs a few women scattered across its faculty may have a much higher average female salary than an institution that has recently hired a lot of women who are still low on the pay scale simply due to the stage in their careers (and having absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they are women).

2. jffoster - January 13, 2010 at 08:03 am

Actually, the data are mostly divided up by SEX.

3. amnirov - January 13, 2010 at 08:47 am

How, exactly, is it "good news" that there is a preposterous gender imbalance in higher education right up to the Masters degree level? Shouldn't our goal be that there is an equal representation of the sexes in higher education?

*crickets*

But the gems continue:

"workers are penalized for working less than full time, or for taking a break from their jobs to care for their families"

d'uh. It's not called a penalty. It's called not getting paid for not working.

"The hopeful news is that the educational system may finally be poised for change. Women now represent *over 50 percent* of the American work force. As women become *equal* in numbers..."

How does something this poorly written get published?

4. observer001 - January 13, 2010 at 09:05 am

This essay is really only pointing out the fact that people earn more in the sciences than in the Humanities and Social Sciences, where there is the majority of women in academia are clustered. Fix that imbalence and you fix the disparity.

I do, however, appreciate the call for better maternity policies and institutional support. I don't think women (and men) in the US realize how much better life is for women (and families) in Europe, where they have a year of maternity and a guaranteed position when they return.

Unfortunately no cash strapped institution faced with a huge glut of PhD's willing to work no matter how bad the pay and benefits or retirees willing to work for free, has any incentive to change unless it comes from government policy. I hope the next generation of female administrators have a different attitude than the last one who seem to think that women nowadays already have it too easy compared to when they were coming up and thus shouldn't complain.

5. newsoffice - January 13, 2010 at 09:27 am

"but at each education level, from K-12 onward, structural barriers discourage women from entering into the challenging, and much higher-paid, fields of science, technology, engineering, and math."

What are the structural barriers that you are referring to?

"Women are diverted from such fields at each stage of their education. In K-12, girls receive less encouragement than boys in math and science. In high-school programs, they are channeled into certain service professions, like hair styling rather than computer repair."

What's the hard evidence that they receive less encourgement? You may be right but what's the evidence?

I have four kids -- two boys and two girls in K-12 -- I've not seen any example of what you are talking about.

Most of the highly educated women I know just don't want to work as hard as one must to be at the top of her field. They opt instead for a more balanced life. I see this over and over again. I am sure you are right that there is sexism in the workplace, and certianly when it coems to $, but don't discount women's ambivalence when it comes to a high powered career. Read "Get to Work" -- filled with women who went to top schools and then decided to stay home and let their husbands do the hard work. I have agreat university job and work hard (plus 4 kids) - but on my time off - rather than work harder, I prefer to knit and cook --

6. sciencelibrarian - January 13, 2010 at 10:00 am

The point made by newsoffice in the last paragraph of her comment, regarding the choice of many women to have a balanced lifestyle instead of a high-powered career, is discussed and given support in Susan Pinker's book, The Sexual Paradox (Random House Canada, 2008). It's a fascinating read.

7. aifos - January 13, 2010 at 10:17 am

Maybe if we spent SOME money trying to level the playing field in the humanities (boys lag far behind in reading and writing), then that may be one way to encourage boys to enter that discipline, leaving room for girls in the sciences.

And PLEASE: don't tell me there are structural obstacles facing girls. I SEE the encouraging programs with my own eyes.

Rather that fix half the problem for one gender, why not be a bit less sexist and fix the entire problem for both genders.

I had thought writing like the kind of reverse sexist crap in this report went out years ago.

8. novain - January 13, 2010 at 11:09 am

I will like to add observer001's point on maternity leave. One parent should be allowed 1 year leave with full pay and the other parent 3 months with full pay. It is upto the couple to decide who may wish to take the shorter or longer leave. Last but not the least, as long as the gender imbalance in household activities continue, including taking care of young ones which is done mostly by women; it is a difficult proposition to expect them to put in 70-80 hours every week of the year like the men do. Maybe, we as a society in general, should realise that we are working too much at the expense of personal time and health. Maybe, if we work less, and hire more people to do the additional work, that is a perfect solution to solve the current employment crisis.

9. dlu39503 - January 13, 2010 at 11:21 am

This article is heavy on feminist rhetoric, but light on any real information. I echo the request for specific examples on how society keeps females down. I have heard these assertions all my life, but not once has anyone provided widespread, concrete, systematic examples. I also question why any organization would employ men if it can get females to do the job for a lower payrate; that does not make any sense. I suspect there are a number of other factors that determine how much a person gets paid.

What is the solution? Force females to pursue jobs in engineering and men to pursue jobs in childcare? Force organizations to hire based on gender regardless of qualifications? Force organizations to pay females a premium because of their reproductive organs? Force organizations to pay females when the females take a year off from the workforce to raise each child, and give them promotions when they are out of the workforce?

10. jinxlou - January 13, 2010 at 11:46 am

I find it interesting that those who find the article wanting in evidence are too lazy to do their own research. Plenty of research on gender barriers exist including models that account for career choices, geography, education level, work activities, work history, etc. that STILL find wage imbalances.

dlu39503 - why are fathers not taking the time off work to care for the next generation of workers? These are the workers that are going to care for you and provide their taxes to you in your old age. Do you think that money and labor falls from trees?

I'm awed by the lack of capacity to think in this crowd of commenters.

11. amnirov - January 13, 2010 at 12:11 pm

It's not the reader's obligation to conduct the writer's research. If the writer desires to be taken seriously, more than mere lip service should have been done to present a solid case (both in terms of research and logic). The whole article is so lousy, it's like it was just phoned in to shake up the bugs in the comment jar.

12. aifos - January 13, 2010 at 02:29 pm

jinxlou, I am awed by your inability to see the complexity of this situation.

For example, there is always talk about 'glass-ceiling' obstacles. But where is the talk about the concrete basement? 90% of all workplace fatalities happen to me; 70% of all workplace injuries happen to men. But we are more concerened about women moving up, as opposed to NOT letting men sink down.

We are concerned about girls/science, but ignore boys/humanities.

The fact is that there is very little balance in gender studies of the type supported by this article.

This article presents no facts and is based on assumptions of only half the picture.

13. newsoffice - January 13, 2010 at 04:11 pm


#10 --"I find it interesting that those who find the article wanting in evidence are too lazy to do their own research. Plenty of research on gender barriers exist including models that account for career choices, geography, education level, work activities, work history, etc. that STILL find wage imbalances."

My university is an engineering university. All we do is provide regional programs and summer camps to get girls interested in science and engineering.

A smart, STEM-minded girl = a free ride at a private tecnological university. I have been trying to push my 17 year old into a science career - there has never been a better time for girls to enroll! But she wants to read literature and study languages. All she has ever gotten from her male and female science teachers is encouragement.

Wage imbalance based on gender is absolutely real. But the reason girls don't go into tech fields -- they just aren't interested.

Also - my husband (a history professor) spends more time with our kids than I do. And last night he made a terrific Creole Shrimp for dinner...and changed the litter boxes.

14. azona - January 13, 2010 at 05:50 pm

I am a corporate female IT manager with an MBA and I agree with Newsoffice, the opportunities exist but girls aren't interesting in pursuing tech fields. To attact qualified workers from the smaller pool, employers offer higher salaries.

From my experience, women earn less because they are less willing to ask for a raise and are less willing to switch to a higher-paying role at a different company. She is free to leave and earn more somewhere else.

I would be disgusted if my employer was forced by the government to treat me differently because I am a woman or have children.

15. aifos - January 13, 2010 at 06:05 pm

Azona: I concur with you.

At one point, I felt I was not paid enough. So I gathered the data. I analyzed it. I presented it properly. Then I set it aside and worried, worried, worried - got a knot in my stomach.

Finally, I summoned up the courage and approached the dean. I discussed the issue, presented the facts and made my request. He asked me to fill out a certain form. I did.

Then, to my surprise, I got the raise. And so did a female faculty member who did nothing.

It irritated me and then I let it go.

For five years we made the same salary. But I was soon proving myself once again: publishing more, teaching better.

So... ACT II - REPLAY: I did it all again: gathered, analyzed, documented, presented, worried, worried, worried. But I got the raise. And this time, the female faculty member did not.

She does not know I am now paid more. And it would really bother me if she claimed discrimination if she finds out. For what then, was the point of me summoning the courage to ask?

If you don't ask, you don't get. And in my experience in both academia and industry (worked there for 10 years), women do not ask for the raise, do not anguish over it, do not worry. They, by and large and on average, do not push for it. To victor go the spoils: if you ask, you get.

16. mozzadee - January 13, 2010 at 06:12 pm

And, this, in fact is the main reason why I decided not to have children. I finished college and my company paid for some of my graduate work and even though I'll be 44-years-old this year I made a firm decision not to have kids and strive for financial independence instead.

I believe the big winners, when it comes to women doing well, are the women who start their own business while their kids are young and these ladies are able to make a successful go of it from there. Corporate America was built by and made exclusively for WASP men and, after this last financial flop between failing financial institutions and government bailouts, men can have it.

17. mjperry1 - January 13, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Sorry to screw up a good story by bringing up hard facts, data and evidence, but according to the 2009 SAT report from the College Board: http://professionals.collegeboard.com/profdownload/cbs-2009-national-TOTAL-GROUP.pdf

1. The average number of years of math study for boys and girls in high school is almost identical: 3.9 years for boys and 3.8 years for girls.

2. The average number of years of science study for girls (3.5 years) in high school is almost the same as for boys (3.6 years).

3. High school girls had exactly the same math GPA as boys of 3.14, and a slightly higher average GPA for science (3.27) than boys (3.23).

4. More girls take biology and chemistry (55%) in high school than boys (45%).

5. There are 127 girls taking high school AP/Honors science classes for every 100 boys.

6. For high school students reporting more than four years of math study, the percentages are equal by gender: 50% of boys and 50% of girls take more than four years of math.

7. Both 50% of boys and 50% of girls in high school report that calculus is the highest level of high school mathematics taken.

8. More high school girls than boys took AP Honors math courses, by a ratio of 117 girls for every 100 boys.

Bottom Line: The evidence shows that high school girls are equally prepared, if not more prepared (more AP math classes), than high school boys for college programs in math, science and engineering. And if "structural barriers" are in place to deter and divert girls away from math and science in K-12, why are girls taking as many math classes in high school as boys, studying math through calculus at the same rate as boys, and taking more AP Math Honors courses than boys? You could make a stronger case that boys are being diverted away from math since they are significantly outnumbered by girls in AP Honors math courses.

18. mjperry1 - January 13, 2010 at 11:34 pm

"In graduate school, the segregation is even more pronounced, and fewer women still go on to careers in academic science."

What a totally selective and sexist concern for sex imbalances in graduate school!

According to the Council of Graduate Schools, there are now 143 women in graduate programs for every 100 men, and women significantly outnumber men in 7 out of 10 graduate fields: Arts and Humanities, Biological Sciences, Education, Health Sciences, Public Administration, Social Sciences and "Other Fields." In only three fields (Business, Engineering and Physical Sciences) are women underrepresented.

19. sarannart6 - January 13, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Mary Ann Mason has done an enormous amount of research and collected an enormous amount of data. For those interested in examining the data and reading her scholarly publications on this subject, check out:
http://ucfamilyedge.berkeley.edu/Do%20babies%20matter.html

20. timebandit - January 14, 2010 at 01:37 pm

Quite the roiling debate, and it's interesting to see that even the conservatives aren't more keen to support maternity leave policies (given conservative emphasis on time spent with kids, importance of family, etc.)

To add a milder point -- do you think that maybe women having to do more around the house might, just might, decrease productivity at work? Do you think the partner who gains from housekeeping services might have more energy to put into a job?

In my own case, even without kids, I'm still the one that has to pick up the house because my partner can't manage to put his laundry in the hamper or his dishes in the sink. Oh, he'll cook (and leave the kitchen a mess) and he will do chores if I ask, but I usually have to ask. If even we egalitarian couples have these issues, I can only imagine the second shift for women married to men who think the house is the women's responsibility, or who have kids and the guys take responsibility for the 'fun tasks' with the kids. Sigh. (Really, I have no other complaints about my relationship, but it is frustrating that either I have to clean or we'll live in filth because he just doesn't notice these things until they reach boy's dorm room levels. ew...)

21. jc1968 - January 14, 2010 at 02:10 pm

timebandit:

If your partner isn't willing to take responsibility for his "mess" it is probably time to have a conversation with him instead of airing the dirty laundrey here.

Any man (yes, I am male) who isn't willing to put in equal effort around the house isn't fit to consider themselves a man.

That goes for in the workplace as well.

22. timebandit - January 14, 2010 at 02:48 pm

In response to #21, my point is exactly that dirty laundry is one reasonable factor among several in the underperformance of women at work. Because in a household, someone eventually has to do the laundry.

Good for you that you don't subject your partner to this problem, but statistically you're the exception, rather than the norm. Most men do less than women--on average--around the house, as shown in numbers below.

The small point I'm trying to make with my personal example, which echoes greater statistical trends, is that a) we still don't have anything near parity in time spent doing housework for m/f married couples in the US and b) this fact can have implications for women's careers, even without taking on the bigger issue of unequal distribution of childcare labor or women taking time out of the workforce, so being paid less due to career gap.

Source: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.nr0.htm
Household Activities in 2008

--On an average day, 83 percent of women and 64 percent of men spent some time doing household activities, such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household anagement.

--On the days that they did household activities, women spent an average of 2.6 hours on such activities, while men spent 2.0 hours.

--On an average day, 20 percent of men did housework--such as cleaning or doing laundry--compared with 50 percent of women. Thirty-eight percent of men did food preparation or cleanup compared with 65 percent of women.

(Yes, it would be great if my partner would magically start to clean more. Many many many conversations have been had and he just doesn't notice these things unless I remind him or he starts sticking to the floor. The worst part is, he's totally a gender equalist. On the other hand, I'm not going to leave a great man over dirty socks, and trust me, I have high standards. Maid service is the plan for the near future, but let's face it, not everyone can afford that option.)

23. sciencelibrarian - January 14, 2010 at 03:18 pm

In comment #22, timebandit cites statistics from 2008 American Time Use Survey that show that men, on average, spend less time doing housework than women. timebandit doesn't mention it, but this survey also shows that men who work full time work more hours than do women who work full time (8.3 hours vs. 7.7 hours on work days). This ties in well with the observation, discussed in other comments, that (generalizing greatly) men place more importance on striving for success in work than do women, while women place more importance on home life than do men.

24. darklogos - January 14, 2010 at 07:23 pm

Here is the funny thing about the article. Is that they fail the number 1 rule of debate and of journalism. The burden of proof is on the one presenting the argument. If they can not present the proof then all shots taken at them are fair and legitamate. It is not up to the reader to verify claims. If that was the case then anyone could make any claim and then tell people to do the leg work. Its foolishness.

I've worked in lots of programs spanning k-12 in the last 10 years and I can tell you that women are not being detered from math and science. The issue is that many of the sciences that you study from k-6 grade are basic earth sciences. They are very sticky and dirty which most girls don't like and lots of boys do like. Add in weird creatures and most girls will get the work done but not enjoy it. Thing is chemistry and application for the other sciences are to complex for young children to learn without that being specfically taught to them on several fronts. So if a parent wants to get their girl into science there has to be some personal desire linked to it.

When you get to 7-12 you have social stigmas that come from science intrest. Teenagers care alot about their social status. Science and math is for sexually/socially unatractive. No one wants tobe unatractive.

The biggest reason why you see more women in the humanities and arts is that women use more words then men and easily combine action and emotional response. Its natural that people gravitate to places that are easy for them.

The problems with equal reprsentation is that it is not always equally deserved. I'm an african american male. I've been places where I've been underqualified or ill places purely because I was black. In the end I was a token to prove political correctness and not the value of my work/field. I've seen the same thing with white women, gays, and other special intrest groups. Having another perspective doesn't always mean you have another valid opinion. Math and Sciences are about hard conclusions and not perspectives on social outlook and feelings. These are the most impersonal feilds of study that ones personal flare doesn't actually rise out of the ashes and mire.

If you read Dr. John Gottman's book "Marrarige Family Clinic" studies you will find that give and take in a relationship is never static and both sexes will have times they are taking on an 80 percent of the load. It is a back and forth thing. The issue is that saying that just because a woman does house work it doesn't mean that she is always the main one doing house work or the only one doing house work. People being ill, time contrants at work, side projects, etc can bring either party out of the domestic arena for the betterment of the family unit. Biggest example of this is going back and getting a degree. Degrees take time and if a woman is going back to school the amount of housework she puts in is less.

If we go back to the dishes/laundry example we are faced with two different viewpoints of what a domestic solution is. (I'm reffering to when the chores are done and not ignored) The first view is aestics and the second view is function. The male goes for function that the general job is done. The female goes for aestics that job is not just done but done in pleasing paticular fashion. Its a patern that comes up a lot.

Thing is that the males social value isn't as tied to the home as the females is.(I think this is why we see women going for the balanced effect between home and family) When we see examples of the domestic focus male and the nondomestic focused females more times then naught both are pegged to be out of place or something isn't quite right. This can be seen that mothers are automatically chosen to get custody of their children and males have to fight for custody instead of an inquiring being done in the matter. Parenting skills are very rarely taken into effect even if the male is domestic. If a female invites males over and her dwelling looks no different then the males dwelling in cleaness the female is looked at more in a derogatory light then the male.

When it comes to family leave and childcare I must say that is what elders and extended social structures are for in most cases. Developing and maintaining family connections is essential for raising children. The problem is that most people put themselves in situations where they are socially isolated from their family so they can't draw on that resources. If the state or the workplace sponser childcare the problem comes in is who pays for it and how can you use it. Childcare is some states is more then others. How do you ration out the money? If we rework the system so that parents can get off to pick up their children and be with them in the evening how are we going to rework our services models. I don't think that fast food you are going to pick up for dinner is going to fix itself. In the end rework social structures only helps the elite and not the working class. The thing is a choice has to be made by both sexes on how much of their life are they going to put in work or at home.

intresting reading links
http://www.gottman.com/research/
http://www.everyman.org/articles/Men-Misogyny-Misandry-jun07.pdf
http://www.fathersandhusbands.org/
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17937795/
http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/99dec/9912whitehead.htm
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/single-marry

25. darklogos - January 14, 2010 at 07:49 pm

For added input on the single women statistic look at this link

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200509/gottlieb . I think it brings up a postion the pollsters haven't thought about.

26. vreyna75 - January 18, 2010 at 11:13 am

"My contribution to "The Shriver Report" focused on higher education."

She *is* presenting her findings from her research that is included in 'The Shriver Report,' specific to higher ed and subsequent career implications.

Causality in modern sexism is not based upon conspicuous descrimination (though it still exists), but it is based upon compounding subtlies and behavior ramifications that most are not able or ready to reflect upon (for both men *and* women). The smoking gun(s) (for which many of these comments are asking) is more complex, subtle, and fine-tuned...and most of the time we're not even aware we're perpetuating gender preferences (notice I did not say descrimination) or making "sub-optimal" decisions that reflect our understanding of our proper societal roles (i.e. women choose life/work balance over 100/hr/week jobs and partnership etc.).

The author was only presenting her findings she added to the Shriver Report and many of these answers to the above comments can be found in the Report. If you need to be caught up with the past 60+ years of gender research or modern decision science(not the scope of this article), the evidence abounds. The key is being interested in picking up gender research or decision science journals and objectively considering the information. Though given the above comments, the journals' authors might ask in frustration, "just where do I begin?"

27. flora3 - January 19, 2010 at 09:02 am

One thing that is lost in the discussion is that there might be value to the employer and to the family by having a balanced worker, male or female. People with life balance tend to be more efficient with their time. I am a female in science and math and am proud of the work I have done. I see that my love of the natural world and my work ethic and my ability to balance my life has been very good for my children.

28. jaless - January 19, 2010 at 09:54 am

None of you have brought up one of the most serious challenges many women face reaching equality that affects women's abilities to work and take care of their families financially: single parenting. Men still are not stepping up to the plate to do their share. Many disappear or appear when it is suitable to them and their schedule. Many also don't pay child support, which leaves women struggling to work (many two jobs), raise the children, and do all of the domestic chores. This reality is also a predictor of higher poverty rates (and medical illnesses). And, one more thing: what happens to women when they stay home to care for the children? The longer a woman stays home without pay, the more likely she will end in poverty at the end of her life. (She doesn't accrue retirement benefits; also, if she has to return to work - death of her spouse or divorce - she will have missed years of work, climbing up the promotion ladder, etc., and will often have to start over at the "bottom.")

29. smarttchik - February 12, 2010 at 05:23 pm

Sorry to burst the bubble on all you folks who think that the issues of gender/age disparity are over, but I was hired as an Assistant Professor in 2007 into a position after working for more than 7 years as an adjunct for the same institution. I was offered a full $20,000 a year less than I was making at the time, and told that they "never hire in new faculty at that level!" I accepted the position and the pay cut (gulp!) just to see - in that same year - the same department chair and dean hire 2 men with less experience into the same position in my department at salaries $40,000 a year higher than the one I was told was "the max that could be given to someone new". I guess they left out the part of the sentence that stated "the max that could be given to a new FEMALE faculty member..."

I should also point out that upon hire I was immediately assigned more than 20 advisees and I taught that first semester; 2 years later, these 2 highly-paid men still teach less than half what I teach, advise maybe 10% the number of advisees I advise, and don't perform 1 iota of service...

Don't talk to me about this issue being 'dead' or irrelevant or out of touch; the issue is still relevant and these barbaric practices are still bein perpetrated against women - especially in the 'esteemed' halls of higher education.

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