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Remotely Equal
Can Telework Close the Gender Wage Gap?

Working remotely saves time, money, and according to Harvard professor and president of the American Economic Association Claudia Goldin, it could be the key to closing the gender wage gap.

While the gap in pay between men and women has narrowed in recent decades, the median income of American men was more than $11,000 greater than that of American women. As the WSJ reports, Goldin thinks she’s diagnosed the biggest reasons for the gap, and sees a potential remedy:

“Three factors explain 84% of the gap,” she wrote in the paper. “Training prior to MBA receipt, (e.g., finance courses, GPA) accounts for 24%. Career interruptions and job experience account for 30%, and differences in weekly hours are the remaining 30%. Importantly, about two-thirds of the total penalty from job interruptions is due to taking any time out.”

Family was the primary reason for women stepping away from their careers. Giving women the opportunity to keep working–on a more flexible schedule–would go a long way to narrowing the pay gap, Ms. Goldin said. Some industries already “appear to be moving in the direction of more flexibility and greater linearity of earnings with respect to time worked,” she wrote.

Remote work makes it easier to balance family life with workplace demands. That’s an obviously desirable end in itself, but to the extent that telework allows women to continue their careers—should they so choose—while raising a family, it provides an important social and economic good.

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  • Andrew Allison

    What on earth makes Prof. Goldin think that if women are getting paid less than men in the office, working from home will change anything?

    • rheddles

      If men work from home, they’ll take more time out from work and thus earn a wage closer to that of a woman. Presumably the men will spend their time bearing and rearing children as do the women who experience job interruptions while having it all..

  • Kevin

    The blurb included was all about the wages of MBAs. This preoccupation with the lower female wages among the top 1% of the workforce is irrelevant to 95% of the labor force.

  • Jim__L

    Frankly, the most important aspect of this issue is the chance that it would allow more women to become mothers without invoking the wrath of the Doctrinaire Feminist Normative movement.

    There simply isn’t any replacement for mama, for young kids. Men have different biophysical reactions to infants, and stress in general. (Older kids need a father, for the same reasons.) This has implications on the basic structure of family that will never change.

    The old Feminist solution — women just shouldn’t have kids — is a disaster, demographically. The modus vivendi — professional-class women have fewer kids — is also problematic. For women at the higher end of the prosperity range to dump all responsibility for childbearing and childrearing on women at the lower end of the prosperity range is not only impractical but a ghastly injustice.

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