However, leaving women in their current occupations and just closing the gaps between women and their male counterparts occupations (e.g., if male and female civil engineers made the same per hour) would close 68 percent of the gap.
This means examining why waiters and waitresses, for example, with the same education and work experience do not make the same amount per hour.
To quote Goldin: Another way to measure the effect of occupation is to ask what would happen to the aggregate gender gap if one equalized earnings by gender within each occupation or, instead, evened their proportions for each occupation.
The answer is that equalizing earnings within each occupation matters far more than equalizing the proportions by each occupation.
In other words, even though women disproportionately enter lower-paid, female-dominated occupations, this decision is shaped by discrimination, societal norms, and other forces beyond women’s control.
Why it matters, and how to fix it: The gender wage gap is real—and hurts women across the board by suppressing their earnings and making it harder to balance work and family.
These decisions to allow doors to lucrative job opportunities to close do not take place in a vacuum.
Many factors might make it difficult for a young woman to see herself working in computer science or a similarly remunerative field.
Those keen on downplaying the gender wage gap often claim women voluntarily choose lower pay by disproportionately going into stereotypically female professions or by seeking out lower-paid positions.
But even when men and women work in the same occupation—whether as hairdressers, cosmetologists, nurses, teachers, computer engineers, mechanical engineers, or construction workers—men make more, on average, than women (CPS microdata 2011–2015).