A new report issued by a Swedish labor agency indicates that female managers don't reduce the pay gap between male and female employees. If not even perfect, stoic, ice cold, blond, Ikea-decorated egalitarian socialist paradise Sweden can overcome the pesky gendered pay gap, then what faint hope do we have in the land of NFL cheerleaders, small town beauty pageant swimsuit competitions, and Slutoween?
A team of researchers from Uppsala University debunked the popular claim that the wage gap among Swedish workers can be explained by a management gap. According to Science Daily, only 36% of managers in Swedish workplaces are of the lady variety, and it's popularly postulated that the remaining 8% pay gap between men and women in the country could be alleviated if only there were as many female as male managers. Some smaller studies have concluded that ladybosses encourage other women to be more professionally ambitious, and that women in positions of power are more willing to mentor female employees, thus encouraging achievement and higher pay.
This study found that gender of the boss actually doesn't matter. According to economist Lena Hensvik, who analyzed every public sector workplace and a sample of private sector workplaces in Sweden between 1996 and 2008, putting women in charge didn't close the gap at all.
Hensvik also found that female managers are no more likely to employ women than male managers, and that the gender divide in a workplace is more determined by the character of the industry than the sex of the boss.
Does this study have implications for the American workplace? Maybe. On one hand, we're no Sweden; their attitude toward sex and gender is, depending on who you ask, either vastly more progressive than ours or a nightmarish dismemberment of traditional gender roles, the likes of which would give Phyllis Schlafly hives. On the other hand, finding out whether the boss's gender affects how much workers get paid stateside could provide some insight into what's behind our own gender pay gap once and for all.
My guess? Babies.
More Female Managers Do Not Reduce Pay Gap, Swedish Study Finds [Science Daily]