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.