New York Times: In Part-Time Jobs, Women Out-Earn Men
This article is several months old but I thought it offered some fascinating data.
... Additionally, men and women are not equally distributed amongst these different workweek lengths. Women are much more likely to be in part-time jobs than men. In fact, in 2009, 66.6 percent (about two-thirds) of American workers logging fewer than 35 hours in the typical workweek were women. By comparison, just 45.1 percent of workers logging more than 35 hours a week were women.
In other words,the “typical” workweek length for men versus women is very different. Men who work part-time are deviating from the “male” workweek norm, a fact that may say something about their quality, ambition or priorities, or at the very least how employers view their quality, ambition or priorities. Likewise with women who deviate from the “female” norm and work full-time.
We frequently hear that women earn 75-80% of what a man earns when we compare salaries in the aggregate. But when we look at hours worked in the aggreate women work 40 hours for every 44 hours men work. That accounts for big chunk of the pay difference. Other studies show that single women in their twenties and early thirties make more than their male counterparts.
Men and women, in the aggreate, do seem to use different critieria for work decisions over their working lives. It can be argued that there are some unhealthy gender expectations that lead to those decisions. But I doubt that much of the pay differences stem from discrimination.