According to a Harvard economist, the gender gap in pay is not due to sex discrimination or gender bias, but rather to ‘greedy’ jobs.
Claudia Goldin, who taught Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, outlines her argument in her new book, Career & Family, which draws on research to show that highly-paid ‘greedy jobs’ in City law, banking and politics force women to choose between their careers and families once they become mothers.
The Times explained that the term “greedy” refers to “a specific type of “beck-and-call” job which is paid over the odds for long travel, unpredictable hours, and client facetime.”
Harvard economics professor Claudia Goldin (left) outlines her argument in her new book, Career & Family, which draws on research to show that highly-paid ‘greedy jobs’ like City law, banking and politics force women to choose between their careers and families
This job is highly sought after by both male and female graduate because of its prestige and selectivity. Two parents may find it difficult to keep their “greedy” careers after children are born.
The article states that men and women are fairly equally paid until their children arrive. The article notes that women are more likely to marry older men and be paid higher than their husbands. It makes perfect sense for the wife, therefore, to step back.
Goldin, who focuses on college-educated women, writes ‘gender norms that we have inherited get reinforced in a host of ways to allot more of the childcare responsibilities to mothers, and more of the family care to grown daughters’.
This is still more prevalent for women than it is for men to accept compromises and step away from their “greedy” careers.
Goldin says that the gender pay gap is not as large across all industries. Mothers are more likely than their male counterparts to advance in less glamorous careers, such as veterinary science and tech, and make a comparable amount.
According to Goldin, “So the devil is always in the details here,” Goldin said to The Times. “You have to take on each occupation. And that’s the work that I’ve done, showing that there is a clear relationship between the occupational demands and the gender wage gaps.
“So it’s not surprising that the most specialized occupations have the lowest gaps in their fields of study are engineering, tech and science.
“Greedy Job” describes “a specific type of “beck-and-call” job that pays more for frequent travel, unpredictability, flexible hours, and client facetime.” Image from stock
Goldin also examines the various factors that are often blamed for the gap in pay, such as gender bias, sex discrimination and a glass ceiling. He points out the lack of data support these arguments.
According to Goldin, “Data now indicates that real pay and employment discrimination while they are important are fairly small.”
Is it true that women are paid less for equal work? Globally, no. Only a tiny fraction of total earnings gaps is caused by pay discrimination. The problem today is more complex.
Many people attribute the gender wage gap to “occupational discrimination,” which is the belief that both men and women choose or are railroaded into particular professions. These professions are stereotypically female (e.g., nurse versus doctor, teacher and professor), with different pay scales.
However this only accounts for ‘at most a third of the difference in earnings between men and women’.
‘Thus, we empirically know that the lion’s share of the pay gap comes from something else… We must give the problem a more accurate name: “greedy work”.’
There is however a silver lining. The pandemic has reduced the demands that employers make of their workers. This is reflected in an increase in women working full-time.
It is too early to tell if the two are linked, but Goldin said she is ‘cautiously optimistic about the effects of the pandemic on women’s careers’.
She stated that there may be a silver lining to the lower price of flexibility. However, it must not lead to a women’s enclave operating from their home.