Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Do U.S. labor markets favor single and childless women?

A recent article in the New York Times made this observation:
The last three men nominated to the Supreme Court have all been married and, among them, have seven children. The last three women — Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Harriet Miers (who withdrew) — have all been single and without children.
The author of this piece, David Leonhardt, notes that even though we now have many more women in the workplace, and we are moving toward better female representation in our Supreme Court, women who take time off the career path to raise children or switch to part-time hours still fall short of their male peers in earnings in the U.S. labor marketplace. He cites a study titled “Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors”:
A recent study of business school graduates from the University of Chicago found that in the early years after graduating, men and women had “nearly identical labor incomes and weekly hours worked.” Men and women also paid a similar career price for taking off or working part time. Women, however, were vastly more likely to do so.
As a result, 15 years after graduation, the men were making about 75 percent more than the women. The study — done by Marianne Bertrand, Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz — did find one subgroup of women whose careers resembled those of men: women who had no children and never took time off.
As a freelance writer, I have been outside of the corporate world for some time now but had I pursued that corporate career track I might have been one of those women. Are you childless and on an uninterrupted career path? If so, do feel like you have the same labor incomes as your male peers who work a similar number of hours?

Flickr Photo by mirimcfly


Lorax said...

I am a 37, single, childfree professional. The field I am in is predominantly female, but my income is in line male counterparts in similar positions. Among the women that I know personally in my field, those with families seemed more stressed and less productive, both at work and home, than those without children. The working mothers I know seem to carry the majority of the parenting responsibilities, regardless of the father’s career, employment status or nurturing capabilities. I enjoy the freedom that comes with being childfree. I can move for professional or personal reasons, and can spend my time away from work as I’d like. I would speculate that professional men who are fathers enjoy some of these freedoms, and that most professional women who are mothers do not.

Anonymous said...

I am 40 years old and a married, childfree (by choice) professional woman. My income is in line with my male counterparts and I intend to increase my salary x 2 within the next 7-10 years at this current rate. My field is overwhelmingly male as I work an Indian-based company although I am based in Europe.