The Gender Pay Gap--New Opportunities for Women

gender gapMany discoveries are made by mistake. Penicillin. Rubber. Even Post-it Notes.

Here's one more: unintended results from business school researchers have provided more insight into the decades-old discussion of why men earn more than women.

Kevin Clark and Patrick Maggitti of Villanova University and Holly Slay of Seattle University looked to research relationships among business networks. They were not targeting gender or potential impacts gender might have. But gender did have an impact in workplace relationships--an impact they could not ignore. Especially when the impact was on pay.

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The State of Affairs

According to the Census Bureau, among full-time workers age 25 or older in 2007, women earned an average of $33,759 which was 24% less than the $46,788 average for men.


Are Men Better Brown-Nosers?

The group looked at the influence of relationships that are 360 degrees around an employee--superiors, peers, and subordinates. It found that men build stronger relationships in all three situations which lead to an increased wage gap between men and women. Researchers controlled for starting salaries, job level, and industry.

Relationships with subordinates had the greatest perceived impact on pay. In other words, if you connect with those below you, they will perform well, make you look good to your boss, and you get a raise. But this trail didn't exist for women.

"We speculate that in some cases, men that are bosses make stronger attachments to the male employees," said Maggitti. "You get along better with people who are similar. That's one potential explanation."

So it makes perfect sense when the men are talking about last night's game or the upcoming tee time at a fancy golf course, women don't necessarily fit in. And even if they can talk the talk, it's just not the same.


Good News for Women

The researchers did not want to cast more gloom and doom over the gender gap--an area that is squarely in public discourse at the moment. Instead, the researchers want their study to be used as a way to identify opportunities for women to rectify pay inequities. They suggest:

  • Motivate and get to know your team: Maggitti and Clark acknowledge that women are better than men at establishing group consensus and managing teams. But that's only in studies and on paper. When it comes to managing subordinate networks, women need to improve.
  • Find out what your friends know: Maggitti and Clark say women are aware of their work communities and groups but don't use peers in obtaining information to advance their careers. Women need to start thinking of it as opportunity to share company information related to the work at hand, rather than gossip.
  • Influence your supervisor: Researchers suggest taking advantage of chance run-ins with the boss by having something ready to say. Yes, when your boss is a man, and you're a woman, you won't have those bathroom run-ins. There's always the hallway.


Next Steps

Like many academic studies, results often spark ideas for future research. The folks behind the study hope to revisit the gender of all the people involved in all workplace relationships--the bosses, the peers, and the subordinates; not just the person at the center. They want to look at the perception of the "old boys club" network--does it still exist? But in the meantime, they hope that women will recognize and create opportunities that may exist right now in the workplace.


Next: Glass Ceiling Is Still Solid -- Especially if You Have an MBA >>



Carol Berman

Carol Berman

Editor

Carol Berman, an award-winning journalist, writes the blog, The Scribble Lounge, a unique take on current events and pop culture. She's New York bred and now lives outside Philadelphia.

Over more than 15 years, she spent many years in broadcast journalism as a producer, followed by a short award-winning stint in public relations and now makes a happy return to journalism.  An avid news junkie, Carol is also a runner, a recovering triathlete, and dog lover. She loves to bake for friends and family and volunteer with different non-profits.

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Wanda Wilson

I have noticed that women are singled out in that they cost more to provide healthcare to by employers. For all new business being set up in Texas, it is very prominently displayed that hiring women is impacts the bottom line negatively. So when one plans the workforce, there is a savings there to hire men. The difference is significant to pay premiums. Also it is prominently displayed how much more it costs to hire those over 50 whether men or women.

May 14 2010 at 6:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
roger

THERE IS NO WAY WOMEN ARE EQAL TO MEN IN THE WORK PLACE AND THEY SHOULD JUST GET USED TO IT AND QUIT TRYING TO CLAIM THEY ARE. THEY CAN'T MAKE DECISIONS MEN MAKE. THEY CAN'T ACT IN A CRISIS THEY JUST AREN'T WITH IT. !!!! IF YOU ASK A WOMEN TO TAKE OVER ATASK YOU HAVE TO DO IT YOURSELF. I HAVE BEEN IN TOO MANY SITUATIONS AS A SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF AN INTORNATIONAL CO. WHERE YOU TRY TO TURN AJOB TO A WOMEN AND GOD KNOWS I HAVE TRYED AND 9 TIMES OUT OF TEN IT GETS SCREWED UP.THEY CANNOT BE RELIED UPON. MALES JUST OUT DO FEMALES 95% OF THE TIME. SO HELP ME I HAVE TRYED TO HELP WOMEN ALONG IN THERE GROWTH BUT IT DOES NOT WORK. IFIND THAT MY OTHER MALE COUNTERPARTS HAVE THE SAME PROBLEMS. I AM THE FATHER OF TWO DAUGHTERS WHO ARE GOING TO BE OUT IN THE CORPORATE FIELD SOON AND I SIT WITH THEM TO COUNSEL THEM ON HOW TO AVOID THE PITFALLS OF THE WORKING WOMEN HAVE TODAY. WOMEN TODAY JUST BELIEVE THAT COMPANIES OWE THEM SOMETHING. THEY ARE LOOKING FOR SOME WAY THEY CAN SUE SOMEONE FOR THEIR OWN PITIFUL SHORTCOMINGS. THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW TO EARN THERE WAY AND LEARN THEY WANT IT TODAT.

April 03 2010 at 9:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
FedUpwithStupid

Well..Artard..or would that be "retard"? Sounds like you have a pain all your own and that seems to be your LIFE. Seems you have got a wifey/girlfriend or other half that you are tired of taking care of. You are not replying to me..you are bitching about your current state of arrangements with someone who sounds like she has hit the jackpot..abeit it be through your wallet..hehe! Does she work outside the home or does she take care of all that responsibility which ALLOWS you to work 65 hrs per week? If you were a single parent, you could not work that many hours as YOU would have to take time off to take care of "home" matters. Seems that she puts in just as many hours as you do..just a different format. And, it also seems like she has no problem of taking her "personal" time away from you and the kids..it is her reward for evidently putting up with a REAL moron like you that evidently dislikes having to spend time with his own offspring. (See..you CAN give birth though your penis) And I certainly agree that women in the workplace can be all of the qualities you state above (I have worked in corporate offices for over 30 yrs) I can also list several aspects of mens actions and attitudes that either meet or exceed all you have listed. No one is perfect, male or female, but since the ariticle was about equal pay for equal work, you will babysit tonite while she gets her hair and nails done (dont want a dog going to the course/clubhouse with you, right) and when she is finished..you can have your circle jerk time with the other dicks! And while she is gone, get your highly educated ass in the kitchen or bathroom and see if you can figure out how to use the stove or toliet brush without a spreadsheet (usually created by the Admin Asst) And, please, stay outta her way or she may wipe the floor with your ass in the divorce..especially with a copy of your true feelings that are now posted on the internet. Who's the moron now??

April 02 2010 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JP

Honestly, from my experience, I would have to say that the article and many here bring up valid points. In my workplace, women seem to have a very tough time fitting in to the social structure of the workplace, and we all work in retail. As everyone knows, what you know can get you in the door, but who you know will show you the stairs to the top. Female managers in my workplace typically don't earn the same respect as the males as many workplaces also have equal opportunity restrictions that require a certain number of managers of a certain type. While this is done to promote equality, it also inherrently makes people wonder why they got a position. If you can prove it, there are those who have. But those who don't have the social skills will always have the label...

April 02 2010 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Angie

YOU GUYS ARE GREAT SO DONT THINK THESE WOMEN SPEAK FOR THE MAJORITY OF US!

April 02 2010 at 1:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Angie

lAURA YOU ARE WRONG!!

April 02 2010 at 1:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Angie

Laura, you say the following "Yes and the reason women are more disproportionately in low paying jobs is the good old boy network or just plain gender discrimination." Then you go on to say, "Ironically, more women graduate with Bachelor degrees or higher. No matter how you try to slice it. America is by far one of the more sexist of developed nations."

IT IS AMAZING HOW WOMEN LIKE YOU LIE ALL THE TIME, WHICH IS THE FEMINIST AGENDA TO DESTROY THIS NATION. WOMEN ARE NOT BEING DISCRIMINATED IN THE WORK PLACE AS YOU CLAIM. I'M AN HUMAN RESOURCES PROFESSIONAL AND I AM SO TIRED OF WOMEN LIKE YOU HOLDING COMPANIES RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR INABILITY TO WORK WITH OTHERS AND USING THE GOVERNMENT TO DO YOUR DIRTY WORK. YES, YOU ARE RIGHT WOMAN DO HOLD BACHELORS AND OTHER HIGHER LEVEL OF EDUCATION THESE DAYS. AND HERE, BY YOUR OWN ADDMISSION, IS TRUTH ABOUT THE PROPAGANDA AND LIES THAT WOMEN LIKE YOU ARE SPREADING TO POSION THIS NATION..THE FEMINIST, LIKE YOURSELF, TODAY AND IN THE PAST 30 YEARS HAVE SAID THAT WOMEN WERE DISCRIMINATED IN THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM, WHICH IS ANOTHER LIE AND YOU EVEN ADDMITTED TO THAT FACT. AND ISN'T IT INTERESTED HOW SPECIAL PROGRAMS (TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER TO WORK DAY AND FEMALE ONLY CLASSES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS ETC) JUST FOR GIRLS AND SPECIAL GRANTS AND LOW INTEREST LOANS TO UNFAIRLY GIVE GIRLS ADVANTAGES OVER MALES. ANOTHER THING TO NOTE IS THE FACT THAT JUST B/C YOU HAVE A DEGREEE DOESN'T MEAN YOU WILL BE A PRODUCTIVE WORKER. WOMEN ARE GOING TO COLLEGE IN LARGE NUMBERS BECAUSE THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IS BEING RUN IN THIS NATION MAINLY BY WOMEN THAT HAVE AN AGENDA TO HURT THE BOYS TO PROMOTE THE GIRLS. MOST BOYS HAVE NO ROLE MODELS B/C MOST SCHOOL TEACHER ARE FEMALE AND WITH DIVORCE AND UNWED MOTHERS CHOOSING TO GET PREGNANT TO TAKE THE DAD OUT THE PICTURE IS DESTROY THE BOYS OF THIS NATION AND THE FUTURE MEN. I HOPE YOU ARE HAPPY B/C WHEN THIS NATION ENDS UP BEING ATACKED/AT WAR ON THIS SOIL B/C WOMEN LIKE YOU WITH SOCIALIST IDEALS HAVE PULLED THEIR ROOFS DOWN ON THEIR FAMILIES, YOU WILL BE WISHING YOU HAD MEN TO BE THERE FOR YOU. WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND. YOU MAY THINK YOUR LIES ARE GIVING YOU AN EDGE BUT YOU WILL FIND THAT THERE WILL COME A DAY OF JUDGMENT! AS WOMAN, I LOVE MY HUSBAND AND SONS AND THE MAJORITY OF MEN ARE WONDERFUL AND THANK GOD FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM!!!

April 02 2010 at 1:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob

Working Mom

I did volunteer. 1983. How about you? Im not interested in your Niece!

April 02 2010 at 12:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Angie

Laura, you say the following "Yes and the reason women are more disproportionately in low paying jobs is the good old boy network or just plain gender discrimination." Then you go on to say, "Ironically, more women graduate with Bachelor degrees or higher. No matter how you try to slice it. America is by far one of the more sexist of developed nations."

IT IS AMAZING HOW WOMEN LIKE YOU LIE ALL THE TIME, WHICH IS THE FEMINIST AGENDA TO DESTROY THIS NATION. WOMEN ARE NOT BEING DISCRIMINATED IN THE WORK PLACE AS YOU CLAIM. I'M AN HUMAN RESOURCES PROFESSIONAL AND I AM SO TIRED OF WOMEN LIKE YOU HOLDING COMPANIES RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR INABILITY TO WORK WITH OTHERS AND USING THE GOVERNMENT TO DO YOUR DIRTY WORK. YES, YOU ARE RIGHT WOMAN DO HOLD BACHELORS AND OTHER HIGHER LEVEL OF EDUCATION THESE DAYS. AND HERE, BY YOUR OWN ADDMISSION, IS TRUTH ABOUT THE PROPAGANDA AND LIES THAT WOMEN LIKE YOU ARE SPREADING TO POSION THIS NATION..THE FEMINIST, LIKE YOURSELF, TODAY AND IN THE PAST 30 YEARS HAVE SAID THAT WOMEN WERE DISCRIMINATED IN THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM, WHICH IS ANOTHER LIE AND YOU EVEN ADDMITTED TO THAT FACT. AND ISN'T IT INTERESTED HOW SPECIAL PROGRAMS (TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER TO WORK DAY AND FEMALE ONLY CLASSES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS ETC) JUST FOR GIRLS AND SPECIAL GRANTS AND LOW INTEREST LOANS TO UNFAIRLY GIVE GIRLS ADVANTAGES OVER MALES. ANOTHER THING TO NOTE IS THE FACT THAT JUST B/C YOU HAVE A DEGREEE DOESN'T MEAN YOU WILL BE A PRODUCTIVE WORKER. WOMEN ARE GOING TO COLLEGE IN LARGE NUMBERS BECAUSE THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IS BEING RUN IN THIS NATION MAINLY BY WOMEN THAT HAVE AN AGENDA TO HURT THE BOYS TO PROMOTE THE GIRLS. MOST BOYS HAVE NO ROLE MODELS B/C MOST SCHOOL TEACHER ARE FEMALE AND WITH DIVORCE AND UNWED MOTHERS CHOOSING TO GET PREGNANT TO TAKE THE DAD OUT THE PICTURE IS DESTROY THE BOYS OF THIS NATION AND THE FUTURE MEN. I HOPE YOU ARE HAPPY B/C WHEN THIS NATION ENDS UP BEING ATACKED/AT WAR ON THIS SOIL B/C WOMEN LIKE YOU WITH SOCIALIST IDEALS HAVE PULLED THEIR ROOFS DOWN ON THEIR FAMILIES, YOU WILL BE WISHING YOU HAD MEN TO BE THERE FOR YOU. WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND. YOU MAY THINK YOUR LIES ARE GIVING YOU AN EDGE BUT YOU WILL FIND THAT THERE WILL COME A DAY OF JUDGMENT! AS WOMAN, I LOVE MY HUSBAND AND SONS AND THE MAJORITY OF MEN ARE WONDERFUL AND THANK GOD FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM!!!

April 02 2010 at 12:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aleighcat

Sorry for the typos........"afford"..and any others I didn't catch. I'm about due for a new keyboard.......=0

April 01 2010 at 10:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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