A new take on the gender pay gap

Today’s post is a little different than usual- I wanted to share a podcast I came across last week that offered some new perspective on the ‘gender pay gap’.

We hear a lot about the disparity between the salaries of women and men doing the same job- the figures often quoted say that women, on average, make 0.77 for every dollar a man in a similar job makes. As a woman in technology, a field still very much dominated by men (at least in numbers), I always find these discussions interesting. In my 10+ year career I can’t say that I’ve ever felt overtly underpaid compared to my male counterparts in similar roles, but I know that this is the reality for many women out there.

Last week’s episode of the ‘Freakonomics’ podcast offered an interesting view about why this gap might exist. In this story Claudia Goldin, a professor of economics at Harvard University, shares the findings that women, who are still the primary care givers for both children and aging parents, will often trade income for what she called ‘temporal flexibility’- in essence more flexible work arrangements. Professor Goldin argues that the women who are making less are not actually working the exact same job as the men; their titles and functions may be similar, but the women may be taking more flexible roles, where they can have more control of their hours, in exchange for decreased compensation.

I myself have often thought that I’d trade part of my income to be able to spend less time in the office and more quality time with my daughter who is still very young and gets home hours before I do. knowing how that feels and having a demanding job I felt this evaluation of the pay gap situation may have some real credence. You can decide for yourself- have a look at the link below for the podcast’s transcript or download the January 6, 2016 episode of ‘Freakonomics’ called ‘The Ture Story of the Gender Pay Gap’ from wherever you usually get your podcasts (for many of us that’s iTunes or Audible).



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