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Topic: Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity (Princeton University Press, Oct. 12 2021)

GATE Faculty Research Fellow Professor Sonia Kang recently hosted a conversation with Dr. Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University on Professor Goldin’s new book Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity. They had a lively discussion with the audience on the barriers women face and how we can move forward on the path to achieving gender equity. 

Professor Goldin highlighted that gender inequity at home can produce gender inequality in society. A century ago, it was a given that a woman with a college degree had to choose between having a career and a family. Today, there are more female college graduates than ever before, and more women want to have a career and family, yet challenges persist at work and home.  

One of the key barriers women face in eliminating the gender wage gap is ‘greedy work’, paying employees disproportionately more for long hours and weekend work. Greedy work is particularly prevalent in jobs where one gets tenure, partnerships, salary promotions, and more. Further, caregiving responsibilities still disproportionately fall on women.  Because of care responsibilities many working mothers opt for jobs with higher flexibility even though these jobs are less remunerative, thus widening the gender wage gap. This also propagates couple inequality as the male partner does ‘greedy work’ and has more financial reward. Not only does this give rise to a gender gap in earnings, but it also reinforces a couple’s inequity in terms of career and family. Professor Goldin highlighted that a potential solution and silver lining of COVID-19 has been the growth of remote and flexible work, which can greatly benefit working mothers.  

“One edge of a silver lining to these dark times is that at least in the US, we have begun a national dialogue about caregiving […] Women in the US and Canada are almost half of the labor force. Our economies now run on women. Caregiving isn’t simply something we can brush aside.” 

– Claudia Goldin 

Watch Claudia Goldin discuss how we can move forward on the path to achieving gender equality