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What’s Really Behind Why Women Earn Less Than Men? 到底为什么女人比男人挣得少?

Once it was because they weren’t as well educated. What’s holding them back now? 在过去这是因为她们没能像男人一样接受良好教育。现在又是因为什么呢?

Though headway has been made in bringing women’s wages more in line with men’s in the past several decades, that convergence seems to have stalled in more recent years. To help determine why, Francine D. Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn, the authors of a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research parse data on wages and occupations from 1980 to 2010. They find that as more women attended and graduated college and headed into the working world, education and professional experience levels stopped playing a significant role in the the difference between men and women’s wages. Whatever remains of the discrepancy can’t be explained by women not having basic skills and credentials. So what does explain it?

尽管在过去几十年,男女收入差距有所减小,但近些年,差距弥合似乎止步不前。为了找出原因,美国国家经济研究局的弗朗辛·D·布劳(Francine D. Blau)和劳伦斯·M·卡恩(Lawrence M.Kahn)开展了一项新研究。研究通过对1980年到2010年间收入与职业的数据进行分析,发现随着更多女性接受高等教育、大学毕业后踏入职场,教育水平和专业经验已不再是两性工资差异的主因。现存的工资差异不能用女性基本技术差和资历不够来解释。那该用什么来解释呢?

The largest factor in the persistent wage gap is the dearth of women in specific jobs and industries, the researchers found. That means that narrowing the wage gap further requires making high-paying, male-dominated industries like STEM fields and tech companies more enticing and welcoming to women. And even before that, encouraging women and girls to take advantage of opportunities to explore and learn about fields like coding and science that remain male-dominated at both the professional and college level. This could help bring up overall wage averages, though it wouldn’t wholly address the gaps that remain between men and women’s salaries even within high-paying industries.


The study also points to … wait for it … culture, which continues to favor men’s participation in the workforce and women’s participation on the home front. “Current research continues to find evidence of a motherhood penalty for women and of a marriage premium for men,” the report finds. “The greater tendency of men to determine the geographic location of the family continues to be a factor even among highly educated couples.” (The researchers assign minimal importance to theories suggesting that psychological factors such as the notion that men are bigger risk takers, or that women are more averse to tense negotiations have all that much to do with the skill gap.)


“Culture” is kind of a squishy concept. How, precisely, does culture push women’s wages down (or men’s wages up)? They find that one of the more significant contributing factor to pay disparity is due to the fact that women are more likely to spend time away from the workforce and are more likely to work truncated schedules as they try to balance both professional and personal priorities, such as caring for children or parents. Progress in pay parity has been slower among women in highly skilled professions than those in professions that don’t require a college or graduate degree. The paper notes that this may be because women in high-paying, demanding jobs, like doctors or lawyers, are more harshly penalized for time spent away from the office, and clients. Specifically the penalties for time out of the office are high among those with MBAs and JDs.


But it’s also true that these women likely have the option to take more time in the first place. Women with more elite, high-paying jobs typically have better options either via benefits or savings, or family assistance, that can allow them to take time away from the workforce, even if it results in a reduction of overall income.


The researchers note that discrimination, too, can play a role. When it comes to hiring and promotions, concerns that women will (or should) spend more time away from the office, or will somehow underperform can create a labor market where it’s difficult for women to achieve to the most advanced and highly paid positions.


生词本 Para. 1 make headway:to make progress, especially when this is slow or difficult e.g. We are making little headway with the negotiations.
我们的谈判没有取得什么进展。 e.g. The boat was unable to make much headway against the tide. 船逆着潮水没法开快。 convergence : if ideas, aims, policies converge, they become very similar or the same stall:to stop something from happening until a later date; to stop making progress e.g. Discussions once again stalled.
讨论再次停顿下来。 parse:resolve (a sentence) into its component parts and describe their syntactic roles 对(句子)作句法分析 discrepancy:an illogical or surprising lack of compatibility between two or more facts e.g. There’s a discrepancy between your account and his.
你的描述和他的大相径庭。 credentials:the qualities, training or experience that make you sustainable to do sth e.g. He has all the credentials for this job.
他做这项工作完全够格。 e.g. She will first have to establish her leadership credentials.

Para.2 dearth:a lack of sth; the fact there not being enough of sth e.g. There was a dearth of reliable information on the subject.
关于这个课题缺乏可靠材料。 STEM:science, technology, engineering, and math enticing:something that is enticing is so attractive and interesting that you want to have it or know more about it e.g. The offer was too enticing to refuse.

Para. 3 premium:a prize, bonus, or award given as an inducement to purchase products, enter competitions initiated by business interests, etc. e.g. The busy shopper puts a premium on (= appreciate and will pay more for) finding everything in one big store. 忙碌的顾客更加喜欢在一个大一点的店铺买到所有东西。 assign sth to sth:to say that sth has a particular value or function, or happens at a particular time or place e.g. Assign a different color to each different type of information.
给每类信息分别确定一种颜色。 e.g. The painting cannot be assigned an exact date.
这幅画的年代确定不了。 averse to sth:not liking sth or wanting to do sth; opposed to doing sth e.g. He was averse to any change.

Para. 4 squishy:soft and easy to press e.g. That said,’mental fitness’ is still a squishy concept.
这份研究报告说,“脑部保健”仍是一个模糊的概念。 truncate:to make something shorter, especially by cutting off the top or end e.g. My article was published in truncated form.
我的文章以节录的形式发表了。 JD:Juris Doctor (法学博士)

Para. 5 in the first place:used to talk about someone did or should have done at the start of a situation e.g. I wished I’d never got involved in the first place! 我希望我从一开始就没有参与进来! benefit:an advantage you get from a company in addition to the money that you earn

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