It’s no secret that working women are generally paid less than men. Sadly, it’s gospel. In 2012, for Pete’s sake, the US Census Bureau reported that women earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. And, the more we learn about added, real-life challenges faced by women on the job, the fact that we continue to excel is testimony to our strength.
Add in motherhood, for example. Not talking about the work-Mom balancing act, we’re just talkin’ money. The NY Times revealed in 2013 that working Moms make 5% less per hour, per child, than their NotMom counterparts in comparable positions.
Childless or childfree? Recent headlines in the U.S. and elsewhere show that employees without kids, female and male, are working extra hours and expanding their workloads to cover for absences by colleagues who are parents. No extra money — only more time at work and more work to do.
Just as Janet Yellen, 67, (above) makes history as the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve System.The American Economic Association presented a study in January 2014 that examined the salary and professional progress of women economists. They’re a lofty little group — women are about a third of Ph.D. students in economics — but their career trajectories can take a hit like the rest of us. In their field, the penalty is reserved for the wives.
Using survey data from economics Ph.D.s who entered or left programs in certain years and the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates, the Association found that women who married in the first five years after scoring their doctorate saw their salary drop 23%. Overall, their paychecks grew slower than their unmarried Ph.D. economist girlfriends. (Men marrying in the same time-frame got a 25% salary up-tick. Yep.)
Wendy Stock, a co-author of the study and a professor of economics at Montana State University, had already presented earlier research about the economics Ph.D. class of 1997, and now the two piles of research go together like PB&J. Back then, Ms. Stock wrote: “The percentage of women who reported that their partner’s job opportunities were important for their own job choice is almost twice that of men.” No surprise then that Ms. Stock also found that the wives were more likely to have changed jobs during their first few post-graduate years than the women who stayed single.
Wondering about the NotMoms? Ms. Stock told Slate that any penalty faced by the female economists for not having children was statistically insignificant. “In addition, our estimates didn’t indicate that the impact of having a child was any different for males than for females,” she said.
So, this time, it’s not about the kids, or the lack of them. This time, women take it in the wallet because they let somebody put a ring on it too soon and decided his aspirations outranked their own.
Back to Ms. Yellen….She is obviously super-smart, but she’s also married with a son. She met her husband, a Nobel Prize-winner, “in the 1970s”, according to Biography.com. Hmm. She earned her Ph.D. from Yale in 1971. I know she’s scary-smart, but if she made it through the maze basically intact, surely she isn’t the only one.
(Image Credit: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg)