text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text
Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
design element
News From the Field
For the News Media
Special Reports
Research Overviews
NSF-Wide Investments
Speeches & Lectures
NSF Current Newsletter
Multimedia Gallery
News Archive
Press Releases
Media Advisories
News Tips
Press Statements
Speech Archives
Frontiers Archives

Gender Gap Theory Collapses Under Scrutiny

January 1997

The gender gap in wages is real, and it cannot be explained by a theory that men put more time and effort into their jobs, sociologists announced at the American Sociological Association meeting last August.

William Bielby, an NSF-funded sociologist from the University of California, Santa Barbara, tested a theory used by some economists to explain inequities in wages between men and women.

In short, the theory says that due to family commitments, women put in less time and effort at work than men do. Or, as Bielby told the United Press International, the theory is: "Hour-for-hour, men are more productive than women, who have greater household responsibilities. And [men] receive more pay and better career opportunities as a result."

Bielby and his colleagues interviewed 500 employed adults and their employers. He found "no support" for this theory.

"In fact," he told UPI, "our results showed that compared to men with similar household responsibilities, human capital and work contexts, women allocate substantially more effort to outside employment."

Other sociologists presented evidence that the wage gap has closed slightly since the 1960s, when women earned 59 cents for every dollar men earned. Now women are earning an average of 71 cents to the dollar, according to Suzanne Bianchi, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, College Park.


Return to January 1997 Frontiers home page   Other Contents of This Issue
Visit Other Frontiers Issues page   Other Frontiers Issues
Visit Other NSF Publications page   Other NSF Publications
Visit Office of Legislative and Public Affairs page   Office of Legislative and Public Affairs


Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page