December 10th, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Using the National Science Foundation’s SESTAT data, we examine the gender wage gap by race among those working in computer science, life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. We find that in fields with a greater representation of women (the life and physical sciences), the gender wage gap can largely be explained by differences in observed characteristics between men and women working in those fields. In the fields with the lowest concentration of women (computer science and engineering), gender wage gaps persist even after controlling for observed characteristics. In assessing how this gap changes over time, we find evidence of a narrowing for more recent cohorts of college graduates in the life sciences and engineering. The computer sciences and physical sciences, however, show no clear pattern in the gap across cohorts of graduates.
Enormous progress was made in narrowing the gender wage gap in the 1970s and 1980s, but since the 1990s relatively little movement has been made toward wage parity (Blau and Kahn 2006). The gender pay gap has persisted even though women now make up the majority of college graduates and have for a few decades (DiPrete and Buchmann 2013; Goldin, Katz, and Kuziemko 2006). Despite sizable increases in the likelihood that American women graduate with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, women’s representation in the STEM workforce lags behind their educational gains (Xie and Shauman 2003).