In a simpler and ideal world, men and women would earn the same amount of money for the same job, however, there are so many complexities in the labor market than explaining the gender gap goes deeper than sexism and bias, across the world. Research conducted by Pew revealed that women earned about 85 percent of what men earned in the year 2018.
Women more than men want a work-life balance
Is comparing men and women's work like comparing apples to oranges? Pew discovered that not all women do the same work as men, nor do they work the same hours as men, due to the fact that women more than men want a work-life balance. Also, Claudia Goldin from Harvard University revealed that women are earning less than men because they prioritize flexibility, both in work hours and location. Further research by Emmanuel and Bolotnyy of Harvard University stated that men also chose to work overtime in spite of short notice, while both men and women work overtime if they are given a three-month notice. Although attitudes towards working women and women's work have changed over the years, a poll by Gallup in 2015 found that 56 percent of women with children under 18 prefer to be homemakers, while only 26 percent of men prefer the same role. "Women understandably want to both work and look after their children. However, there is a harsh reality at play." Therefore, explaining the gender gap isn't as black and white as the different preferences of men and women.
It’s difficult to balance having children, a career, marriage, and be a high performer
Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi was a leading woman of a Fortune 500 company said in an interview, "We get a lot of women in at the entry-level positions. As you get to middle management, women rise to those positions, and then that’s the childbearing years. And when they have children, it’s difficult to balance having children, your career, your marriage, and be a high potential out-performer who’s going to grow in the company." However, the flipside of this is that even is female-dominated fields like childcare and nursing women are still paid less than men. According to a 2017 American Community Survey, there are no fields where women earn more than men if the gender wage gap was due to an occupational choice, then women should achieve parity within some fields, but this not happened. Also, why do workers of certain ethnicities like Black and Hispanic, or even certain classes have a greater pay gap even among men? How can this be explained by the career preference or flexibility preference in such categories?
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