Asked what makes something female-friendly, Ellen DeGeneres talks about pink pens:
Where are we going? To how the workplace can become female-friendly.
Narrowing the Gender Pay Gap
Whether it’s children, grandma or another family member, in American culture, the woman has traditionally been the caregiver and needed time flexibility at work. According to Harvard professor Claudia Goldin, that need for a less rigid work schedule explains most of the gender pay gap. Because women have had to be available for caregiving, they have chosen different (lower paying) professions from men and have been paid less in male-dominated occupations.
However, there is an exception.
The gender pay gap among pharmacists has almost disappeared. During the 1970s when drug stores were small and owner-operated, men earned more than women. Now though as the industry has consolidated and the job has become standardized, the difference between what a male and a female earn per hour is almost or entirely equal.
We could say that the reason is substitutability. The proliferation of technology that facilitated standardization and eliminated the need for a personal relationship with customers meant one pharmacist could easily replace another. Unlike the law or medicine or other high paying professions, the job’s requisites enable a substitutability. Consequently being a part-time pharmacist generates no wage penalty.
Below you can see that the demand for part-time work spikes for women with children when they are close to 32 years old:
Our Bottom Line: The Gender Pay Gap
Saying that women earn $.79 for every dollar earned by men simplifies a more complex dynamic. A closer look at the workplace reveals that the cost to the firm of the time flexibility that many women require results in a lower wage. So, we are not necessarily dealing with discrimination. Instead we are experiencing the cost of temporal flexibility. In professions where that cost does not exist, there is very little if any gender-based wage penalty.
Asked how more wage equality can evolve in industries without substitutability, Dr. Goldin suggested the focus should be the schools. Rather than have a family- or female-friendly firm mandate from government, she said a longer school day and a longer school year would give women more flexibility at work.