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Just as not every woman has children and childcare/household responsibilities pulling them away from work more often than men, the following comment does not apply to men across the board either. But a clear trend I have seen consistently in businesses is that the men are pulled away from focusing on work much more often than women in order to play golf, watch several-hours-long sports events, have extended lunches, and attend happy hours. While of course this is at times related to building business relationships, in some ways that makes it even more frustrating to see--i.e., not only are women putting their heads down at work to get through those responsibilities efficiently so they can get out of the office at a decent time to get home for evening family responsibilities, but they're also often missing out on developing those internal and external relationships that are critical to career success and progression.

Thanks for the comment Shannon. You are absolutely right that different women are affected differently by family and care-giving responsibilities, as are men. I also agree with your point about differences by gender in building internal and external relationships and career success. There is no doubt that some inequities still exist in our workplaces. I think the answer lies in asking the difficult questions relating to the very kinds of issues you raise, not looking in the same old place over and over again, expecting to find new answers. We need to change our focus on these issues and develop solutions that empower all employees to be successful - regardless of gender.

The American Compensation Association conducted a survey of member pay using a regressed questionnaire job evaluation approach. Analyst Howard Risher, PhD, reported that when the variables of age, experience, education, number of jobs, position level, organization type and company size were accounted for, women earned much less than their male peers. When I first read that published member survey study in 1981, seeing how pay increased for factor after factor, until the very end, I was stunned when I read the final instruction to subtract 14.3% from the predicted total compensation figure if you were female. That survey was never repeated.

Even though actual experience time was equalized, the fact is that "mommy-breaks" may have occurred to disrupt the continuity of those absolute experience years. For example, while a man may have 5 years of work experience from 2007 to 2011, the female peer may have spent a year outside the trade raising a family and hence her 5 years job experience spanned a longer period. Regardless, after all the legitimate reasons have been accounted for, that nagging 14.3% residual differential remains as a serious issue.

Your comment reinforces my point. If I'm understanding correctly, the 14.3% differential you reference remains after controlling for age, experience, education, number of jobs, position level, organization type and company size. Collecting more information on earnings and age, experience, education, position level, etc., is - in my opinion - not likely to shed any light on the residual differential. We can't keep running the same model over and over again expecting to get a different answer. I agree that residual differentials in pay are a serious issue. We need to look outside of the conventional models - and the same old legitimate factors we've been looking at - if we hope to make any headway in understanding why residual differentials exist.

Thanks for weighing in on this issue and sharing your expertise!

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