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Nobel Winner Goldin: Gender Pay Gap Will Never Close

Claudia Goldin, a Harvard University professor, has been awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics for her groundbreaking research on women in the labor market. Goldin, who is only the third woman to win the prize and the first to do so solo, has spent her career investigating the persistent gender gap in the labor market and ways to narrow it.

Her research has provided the first comprehensive account of American women’s earnings and job market outcomes over centuries. Goldin’s work illustrates the uneven progress in closing the wage gap throughout history, influenced by social norms and women’s expectations about their career prospects and roles at home.

She emphasizes the importance of achieving “couple’s equity” for gender equality, highlighting the impact of unpaid caregiving and household labor on pay differences and labor force participation. Goldin’s findings reveal that the current earnings gap is mostly between men and women in the same jobs and emerges after the birth of a woman’s first child.

Achieving equity within families is seen as crucial for women to have equal opportunities at work. Goldin advocates for addressing challenges like “greedy jobs” and parenting norms, suggesting that increased government funding for childcare and more flexible, shared-duty high-paying jobs can contribute to narrowing the gender pay gap.

However, questions about why women, not men, often step back from higher-paid opportunities and how to make demanding jobs less so without reducing productivity remain challenges for further exploration.

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