You know that theory that the gender pay gap is a result of women becoming nurses instead of doctors, that sort of thing? Or, as the Republican National Committee put it when voting down the Equal Pay Act, “There’s a disparity not because female engineers are making less than male engineers at the same company with comparable experience. The disparity exists because a female social worker makes less than a male engineer.”
You know, that?
That’s only part of the reason there’s a gender wage gap. The other reason, a Harvard study found, is because most women have other things to do besides being chained to their desks 24/7. The study showed that women place a high value on flexibility of hours, as well as leaving to spend time with their families. Meanwhile, more men rack up more hours on the job, thus taking home more pay. (Think of an attorney for a big law firm tacking on tons of billable hours, while an in-house attorney for a small company leaves at 5 PM and relaxes.)
Study author Dr. Claudia Goldin says that some occupations pay disproportionately more for overtime than others, and this is why the pay gap for certain professions, like surgeons and lawyers, is so much larger than ones in fields like pharmacy. Goldin told The New York Times, “The gender gap in pay would be considerably reduced and might vanish altogether if firms did not have an incentive to disproportionately reward individuals who labored long hours and worked particular hours.”
Basically, as long as jobs value overtime a whole lot, and as long as men are more likely to work overtime than we are, the pay gap will still be around.