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You’ve no doubt heard that women make less than men on average. The commonly cited figure is 77 cents per a man’s dollar.
There are a lot of reasons for that, some of which may involve gender discrimination. Part of it could also be that women tend to take jobs in lower-paying fields such as teaching, and that more women than men stay home or take time off to raise kids.
A recent study looked at yet another reason: overwork.
According to a study published in the American Sociological Review, men are more likely than women to work 50 or more hours per week, which the researchers call overworking. They looked at pay data from 1979 to 2009 and found that overwork slowed the closing of the gender gap. While the gap narrowed rapidly in the 1970s and ’80s, it slowed down in the ’90s and virtually stopped moving after that.
“These changes raised men’s wages relative to women’s and exacerbated the gender wage gap by an estimated 10 percent of the total wage gap,” the study says. “This overwork effect was also sufficiently large to offset the wage-equalizing effects of the narrowing gender gap in educational attainment and other forms of human capital.”
Overwork is particularly common in professional and managerial roles, where it’s expected in order to gain promotions and better pay, the study says. Women are less likely to take a job that requires overwork, and less likely to stay in one — possibly because they’re expected to do other things, too.
“Despite moves toward equality, women still tend to be more responsible than men for housework and child care — hours that hardly count on the job but make them plenty overworked, too,” Quartz says.