A 25-year U.S. study has found that men who treat women as equals in the workplace make less money when compared to men with traditional views about women. The researchers also found that women earn less money than men do, in either type of workplace setting.
The conclusions of the study found that men with old-fashion attitudes about gender roles (traditional view) earn about $11,930 more per year than men who view women in the workplace as equals (egalitarian views).
The Washington Post reports that this study shows men are also “victims of gender-related income disparities.”
Women are usually the ones called victims of wage differences, traditionally the ones that make less money then men in comparable jobs. [The Washington Post: “Study Ties Wage Disparities To Outlook on Gender Roles ”]
The Post article adds, “The study raises the provocative possibility that a substantial part of the widely discussed gap in income between men and women who do the same work is really a gap between men with a traditional outlook and everyone else.”
Specifically, in an equalitarian (equal for men and women) workplace men earned on average $22,795, while in a traditional (not equal) workplace men earned on average $34,725—a difference of $11,930.
In an egalitarian workplace, women earned an average of $21,373, however, in a traditional workplace, women earned an average of $20,321—a difference of $1,052.
Thus, men in a traditional setting, earn $14,404 more than women earn. In addition, men in an egalitarian setting, earn $1,422 more than women do. The difference is almost ten times as great between the traditional and equalitarian settings.
Women, on the other hand, still make less money than men do in either situation.
The authors state in the abstract to their paper, “This implies that traditional men are rewarded in the workplace for seeking to preserve the social order, whereas traditional women seeking to do the same are not necessarily penalized. Indeed, women in general tend to make less than men, regardless of their gender role orientations.”
Beth A. Livingston, one of the two authors for the study, stated, “When we think of the gender wage gap, most of our focus goes to the women side of things. This article says a lot of the difference may be in men’s salaries.” [The Washington Post]
Livingston added, “We actually thought maybe men with traditional attitudes work in more complex jobs that pay more or select higher-paying occupations. Regardless of the jobs people chose, or how long they worked at them, there was still a significant effect of gender role attitudes on income.” [The Washington Post]
Dr. Timothy A. Judge, the other author of the study, stated, “Some would say, ‘Of course traditional men earn more than traditional women — they are both fulfilling their desires to play different roles in the home and workplace.’ Our results do not support that view. If you were a traditional-minded woman, would you say, ‘I am fine working the same hours as a traditional-minded man in the same industry with the same education but earning substantially less’? I don’t think traditional-minded women would say that.” [The Washington Post]
The study was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology under the title “Is the Gap More Than Gender? A Longitudinal Analysis of Gender, Gender Role Orientation, and Earnings.” [A pdf file, the entire article is available for reading.]
Its authors are American organizational psychologists Timothy A. Judge (a professor from the Warrington College of Business Administration, Department of Management) and Beth A. Livingston (a doctorial student in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management), both from the University of Florida, Gainesville.
The authors used data collected by the U.S. government between 1979 and 2004 using the U.S. Labor Department’s National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.
The survey began collecting data on 12,000 people in the United States between the ages of 14 and 22 years, and continued to collect information over the next 25 years.
The abstract to their paper states, “This study investigated the relationships among gender, gender role orientation (i.e., attitudes toward the gendered separation of roles at work and at home), and earnings. A multilevel model was conceptualized in which gender role orientation and earnings were within-individual variables that fluctuate over time (although predictors of between-individual differences in gender role orientation were also considered).”
Specifically, the researchers classified men and women as traditionalists when they believed men and women had distinct (traditional) roles in society, both at home and in the workplace, such as men should work outside of the home and women stay home.
People were classified as egalitarianists if they believed men and women should have equal roles at home and in the workplace, such as both women and men should be able to work outside the home.
They concluded about the data they analyzed, “Results indicated that whereas traditional gender role orientation was positively related to earnings, gender significantly predicted the slope of this relationship: Traditional gender role orientation was strongly positively associated with earnings for men; it was slightly negatively associated with earnings for women. Occupational segregation partly explained these gender differences.”
And, “Overall, the results suggest that although gender role attitudes are becoming less traditional for men and for women, traditional gender role orientation continues to exacerbate the gender wage gap.”
The study does not try to explain the reasons why these wage disparities (gaps) occur, only that they still do occur in American society.
However, both authors do offer two possible possibilities for the wage disparities. They state that traditional men may negotiate their salaries better with their bosses than the other three groups of people (egalitarian men, egalitarian women, and traditional women).
They also state that U.S. employers may still discriminate against men and women with egalitarian viewpoints.
This article was originally posted by William Atkins in ITWIRE on Tuesday, 23 September 2008