Claudia Goldin: Close the Gender Pay Gap, Change the Way We Work:
The gap increases with age... wage differences are concentrated within occupations.... The earnings gap is most pronounced in occupations such as law that place a premium on the willingness and ability to work long hours, be in the office at specific times, and build face-to-face relationships with co-workers and clients.... Consider the case of women with master degrees in business administration. At 10 to 16 years into their careers, they are typically earning only 55 percent of what men do. Child bearing is a primary reason for the divergence.... The huge value that so many employers place on a standard work schedule affects more than the careers of women. Anyone who, for whatever reason, needs to take time off or work flexible hours gets penalized.... To be sure, some professions may never be able to offer much flexibility.... [But] many professions that once tied people to specific hours are finding ways to reduce the cost of flexibility.... Not everyone stands to gain in a world of greater job flexibility. Some of those willing to sacrifice their lives to work might no longer be able to reap outsize rewards. In the interests of a happier, wealthier and more equitable society, though, that would be a small price to pay.