A common refrain in arguments over the gender pay gap–the fact that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns–is that the rate doesn’t reflect that women choose jobs to be more flexible. According to a recent study, however, it appears that women perceive their jobs to be more stressful and less flexible, in addition to having lower compensation.
Sociologists Haya Stier of Tel Aviv University, and Meir Yaish of the University of Haifa analyzed survey international data from 17,500 people (9,000 women and 8,500 men) who were asked about the quality and nature of their jobs. The questions asked respondents to rate their agreement with statements like “my opportunities for advancement are high,” and “my job is interesting” and asked whether they were allowed to organize their own schedule and take time off during working hours. “Women lag behind men on most employment dimensions: their jobs offer lower salaries and fewer opportunities for advancement, but also lower job security, worse job content, less time autonomy, and worse emotional conditions,” according to the study.
Being self-reported, the dataset is completely subjective, but it seems to debunk one of the main arguments in the ongoing debate as to why women still generally get paid less. If women are in fact choosing jobs that are more flexible and taking a pay cut in the process, the irony may be that once in the job, it doesn’t actually feel flexible. Or, given the ongoing cultural pressure for women to (ahem) “have it all,” maybe a job can never be flexible enough.