A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter

Source: Claudia Goldin, American Economic Review, Vol. 104 no. 4, 2014

The converging roles of men and women are among the grandest advances in society and the economy in the last century. These aspects of the grand gender convergence are figurative chapters in a history of gender roles. But what must the “last” chapter contain for there to be equality in the labor market? The answer may come as a surprise. The solution does not (necessarily) have to involve government intervention and it need not make men more responsible in the home (although that wouldn’t hurt). But it must involve changes in the labor market, especially how jobs are structured and remunerated to enhance temporal flexibility. The gender gap in pay would be considerably reduced and might vanish altogether if firms did not have an incentive to disproportionately reward individuals who labored long hours and worked particular hours. Such change has taken off in various sectors, such as technology, science, and health, but is less apparent in the corporate, financial, and legal worlds.
Related:
How to End the Gender Pay Gap Once and for All
Source: Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, March 4, 2014
A Harvard economist makes the case that greater autonomy and work flexibility would bring us closer to equal pay.