Before the most recent recession, women lagged behind men in managerial roles — especially if they were moms.
According to Catherine Rampell of the Times, a report to be released today by the Government Accountability Office says women held 40% of managerial jobs in 2007, up just 1% from 2000. And in those jobs, women earned just 81 cents for every dollar men made. The gap was wider for women with kids — they earned 79 cents to men's dollar. And perhaps as a result, female managers were less likely to have kids than men were — 63% of female managers had no kids, compared with 57% of male ones. Women in managerial roles were even less likely to be married — 59% were, compared to 74% of men.
Rampell notes that the report controls for a variety of external factors like education, part-time or full-time status, and age — even eliminating these variables, women come out behind men, and moms behind dads. The report didn't control for actual hours worked, so it's possible that moms worked less overtime than dads because of greater family responsibilities — but, as we've said so many times before, the fact that these responsibilities fall disproportionately on women is its own form of injustice. Pay gap skeptics (like Christina Hoff Sommers) argue that women actually choose the circumstances behind their lower pay, but many hardworking moms would probably dispute the notion that they'd chosen either less work or smaller paychecks. Says Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, "When working women have kids, they know it will change their lives, but they are stunned at how much it changes their paycheck. In this economy, it is adding insult to injury, especially as families are increasingly relying on the wages of working moms."
Another interesting detail from the report:
In all but three of the 13 industries covered by the report, women had a smaller share of management positions than they did of that industry's overall work force. The sectors where women were more heavily represented in management than outside of it were construction, public administration and transportation and utilities.
These seem like historically male-dominated industries, and I wonder if there's a sort of glass elevator pushing women to managerial roles in them — perhaps because they are seen as less fit for jobs on, say, construction sites. This is just speculation, though — I'd like to see a study on what these industries are doing differently. As Rampell points out, the recession has resulted in a lot of changes since 2007, and it would be more interesting than ever to know which industries are promoting women and why.