Many of us are already aware that there are more men in powerful corporate positions than women. In fact, out of the Fortune 500 companies, only 15 have women CEO’s. However, according to this article from the New York Times single women without children, are often favored over mothers.
The last three men nominated to the Supreme Court have all been married and, among them, have seven children. The last three women — Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Harriet Miers (who withdrew) — have all been single and without children.
This little pattern makes the court a good symbol of the American job market. Women and men with similar qualifications — age, education, experience — are much more likely to be treated similarly today than in the past. The pay gap between them, while still not zero, has shrunk to just a few percentage points.
Yet once you look beyond the tidy comparisons of supposedly identical men and women, the picture is much less sunny. There are still only 15 Fortune 500 companies with a female chief executive. Men dominate the next rungs of management in most fields, too. Over all, full-time female workers make a whopping 23 percent less on average than full-time male workers.
What’s going on? Men and women are not identical, of course. Many more women take time off from work. Many more women work part time at some point in their careers. Many more women can’t get to work early or stay late.
And our economy exacts a terribly steep price for any time away from work — in both pay and promotions. People often cannot just pick up where they have left off. Entire career paths are closed off. The hit to earnings is permanent.