Monday, May 14, 2007

Independent Economic Actors

In business microeconomic theory, the choices made by each individual economic actor are assumed to be independent of other choices made by every other economic actor in the marketplace. That seems to be the case unless you're talking about female economic actors, who are "all in this together," who "must work together on this challenge" and who must "keep in mind all other women in similar circumstances."

Female economic decisions are presumed to be made in a highly dependent, inter-linked and of course subordinate web of contingencies. A woman alone must make choices within the context of family, children and all the people who count on her. Women at work must be making choices that are dependent on the consequences for all other women in the workplace.

We argue that female economic actors make non-"male competitive model choices." They do not consciously choose to work fewer hours. Instead, we say they choose to avoid his idea of full-time extreme working conditions. They make the un-male choice, rather than their own choice.

We say that female economic actors are the only ones who make decision that are dependent on family, children, and others who need care in the household business unit. Even though men represent fully 50% of the resources necessary to create this business unit, their domain remains fully 100% outside of the entity they helped create.

Euphemistically, we say that female economic actors opt out when in fact they quit working. We presume they are entitled to receive special "re-skilling, confidence-building" remedial work and counseling to re-motivate them to un-quit. Female economic actors who did not quit are expected to be willing to participate in programs to "mentor" their quitter sisters to come back into the fold.

Female economic actors are supposed to perceive some self-interested benefit in offering their mentorship skills for free to their quitter sisters. They should find some benefit from efforts to increase the number of low-bidding wage-seekers trying to re-enter the female marketplace.

What these presumptions ignore is the reality that increasing the number of women at the bottom or the middle of the career pyramid will not necessarily result in increasing the number of women of achievement at the top of the career pyramid. Women of achievement did not get to their positions of leadership by relying on programs and incentives that pandered to the lowest common denominator "fears" and "beliefs" about how the economic marketplace works.

Women in leadership faced the same stereotypical cultural biases and prejudices as their less-successful sisters. What was different was that women in leadership took some additional steps out of the morass of the middle and became exceptions women. They did not accept the definitions given to them by family, friends, workplaces, or the media.

They did not strip themselves of all things female -- not emotion, family, children, caregiving, or a life of their own choosing.

Women in leadership looked upon their families as the most fundamental economic entity. If they could not figure out how to make this most basic business unit work successfully and to their own satisfaction, then they would not be able to function successfully in and among all of the other more complex economic marketplaces of their career. These women took care of the business at home, first, and then took on business at large.

Their behavior is independent of every other economic actor. Their choices do not diminish or affect the behavior or decisions of others. They have not "taken away" anything from the men, nor diminished or demeaned the choices and decisions made by other women in the marketplace. They are at war with no one. They are independent economic actors in the economy, thank heaven.

Despite . . .

It's mandatory to start any article about women in leadership with the word "despite." It doesn't matter whether the article is about good news and progress or bad news and glass ceilings, there are very few journalists who know how to write anything about women in leadership without the preposition, noun, verb, or idiom (it's all of those). Most importantly, the word despite comes from the Latin, d├ęspectus, meaning "to view from a height, scorn." That is the most important message: looking down on women.

Robert Drago, Professor of Labor and Women's Studies at Pennsylvania State University, wrote about "Harvard and the Academic Glass Ceiling" in The Chronicle of Higher Education:
[March 27, 2007: http://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2007/03/2007032701c/careers.html]

He began with the deceptively positive paragraph and FACT: "The appointment of Harvard's first female president [Drew Gilpin Faust] means that women will now lead half of the eight institutions that make up the Ivy League."

Then came the scorn: "But focusing on highly accomplished women such as Faust misses a larger point."

Another FACT: Women were at the heart of the exspanion of non-tenured track contingent instructors at American institutions: 43% in 1975 to 65% in 2003.

Again, the scorn: "Women who choose the tenure track often sacrifice family life on the altar of career."

Drago's Center for the Study of Higher Education at Pennsylvania State University examined 4,000 faculty members in chemistry and English departments and found "many women who now believe that a tenured-track career is inconsistent with a meaningful and full family life."

The lessons from Drago's research is this:

1. We should not look at women of accomplishment, tenured faculty, to learn how they succeeded, how they overcame the prevalent perceived "barriers" to success. We should look instead at the crowded masses of women who chose the well-beaten path to the middle, low-wage, part-time, non-tenured, contingent female ranks -- the women who would really prefer to be home tending their families.

2. Women in academic [if chemistry and English departments are representative] are those who choose contingent, low-hour, low-wage, part-time work.

3. Males in academia are the "ideal workers:" tenured, full-time, high-wage, satisfied researchers who have no family or at least no meaningful family life.

4. If we establish more "half-time tenure track" systems in academic, then that would attract more female family caregivers who prefer to avoid the long hours required to teach and research. The end result should be an increase in "non-ideal workers."

5. Academia should invest in programs for enhanced child-care support, parental leave options, and research grants for those with the greatest care-giver responsibilities among the available candidate pool.

6. Even though we've increase the share of "half-time, contingent" female population in academia to a whopping 65%, we should increase it further under the guise of a fully-subsidized half-time tenure variation.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Thinking Anew - Part 5

Linda Tischler, journalist, "Where Are the Women?" Fast Company, February 2004, page 52.

"In many fields... women often choose more nuanced paths that keep them from reaching the top."

Tischler cites the example of Brenda Barnes who quit PepsiCo in September 1997 for "a less demanding path."

Barnes said "You can't alter [those big jobs, those CEO jobs] to make them accommodate women any better than men. It's just the way it is."

Finally, Brenda Barnes speaks up and says that if you want the CEO jobs, you can't expect to be accommodated. For every Brenda Barnes there are many more women like Indira Nooyi who ultimately replaced her as CEO of PepsiCo in October 2008, apparently thriving in the position.

Tischler cites Catherine Hakin, sociologist at the London School of Economics, who concluded it's not the jobs, it's the women.

Reengineering jobs will not solve two fundamental problems:

    1. many women have decidedly MIXED feelings about working

    2. top jobs by their very nature will remain relentlessly demanding

Then, Hakin over-generalizes and steps into "the evilness poo:" "The higher up you go, by and large, jobs get greedier and greedier."

Nan Langbourne of Babson College suggests that women need to "change the frame" and alter their pre-conceived notions that all business is bad, that all profits are evil, and that expansion of business must only be at the expense of others. She suggests that women need to learn much more about basic business economics, the benefit streams created by for-profit firms, which produce the wealth upon which so many women apparently thrive.

Women are progressing well in those professions where they are finally getting educated. Data from The National Directory of Legal Employers and Catalyst Inc. confirm these trends. Women represent:

    at least 40% of top law school enrollments since 1985.

    50% of top law school enrollments since 2000.

    15.6% of law partners nationwide.

    13.7% of general counsels of Fortune 500 companies in 2000.


Tischler cites Margaret Hefferman, former CEO of CMGI company iCast:

    "the hordes of women refusing to play the career-advancement game aren't doing so because they can't hack it, but because they've lost faith in the institutions they've worked for and are tired of cultures driven by hairy-chested notions of how companies must function."


It's very doubtful that there is that much unanimity among women anywhere. And, what would that mean about the women who ARE general counsel, law partners and corporate leaders who are working to change the corporations and culture from the inside?

Hefferman also says that "[Women] leave to create companies where they don't have to be change agents, where they can start from scratch without the fights, without the baggage, and without the brawls."

That implies that women-owned businesses are established so that women owners can take like easy. Not a very realistic assumption.

If so many women have lost faith in the institutions, why is female investment in those same institutions and female employment selling financial services for those same institutions at record levels?

Ah yes, women are out there creating perfect companies. Except that the data shows that women are clustering their companies in the same over-women-populated sectors as they did as employees, again driving average earnings through the floor. And women have a lower propensity to employ other people, avoiding those nasty things like salaries, taxes, and employee retirement benefits. Women hire fewer people when they do employ others, so they have less likelihood of growing their firms larger. So, women are not doing that ugly thing called "competing effectively" and certainly not competing at any appreciable level in the global marketplace.

Since many women tend to create smaller firms, they have fewer IPOs and shareholders. Thus, women also don't tend to create boards of directors where they could learn how directors drive strategic value. Women tend to have fewer boards of directors, so fewer women serve on their boards, resulting in fewer opportunities for women to learn about the unique challenge of governance in a for-profit corporate setting.

Let's conclude with some mention of the "challenge of child care." When the generation before this started up the career ladder, they took care of their own kids. Today, there are over 40 for-profit corporations that provide child care services in the US, and the number of private and charitable entities are growing at record rates.

There is not a clear picture of the total size of the total U.S. child care market sector, but it does have about 767,000 workers who earn an average of less than $10/hour (less than 2/3s the average pay of private industry). The two top states in terms of public investment in child care services are New Jersey (about $2.6 B) and California (about $4.6 B).

By comparison, look at the size of the U.S. personal care market:

    Prestige beauty market - $8.2 BILLION

    Nail salon business - $6 BILLION (54,000 salons in 2003)

    Hair care industry - $7 BILLION



Oh, yes, and before we end this discussion, let's remember the Pet Care/Food industry in the U.S. is a $36 BILLION market.

In any economy, the individuals who have control over the consumer dollar make conscious choices about where to place that money: either on short term personal discretionary items or in long term investments. Keep that in mind the next time we read heartfelt recommendations that we should all subsidize costly corporate programs to address the needs of only about 32% of female consumers.

When women perceive there is value in creating viable businesses, providing quality child care to the 16% of the female worker marketplace that even HAS children under age 6 years, then perhaps we will truly see if women can build and sustain an effective contemporary business model in a sector of their preference.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thinking Anew - Part 4

Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author of "Off-Ramps and On-Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success" from the Center for Work-Life Policy, a New York nonprofit where she directs "Hidden Brain Drain", a task force of 34 global companies "committed to fully-realizing female and minority talent."

Hewlett argues that gender parity has not occurred "mostly because women find it very difficult to replicate the competitive-white-male career path."

Instead, this is Hewlett's model of "how women do it:"

    "About 37% of women take an off-ramp … QUIT their jobs - but just for an average 2.2 years."

    "36% .. have sought part-time jobs … [taking] scenic routes for a while - intentionally not ratcheting up their assignments."

    "others have declined promotions or deliberately chosen jobs with fewer responsibilities."

Even though many women drop out in these various forms, most of them regret it after learning how hard it is to get back on track:

    "The vast majority of them - 93% -- WANT to return to work, for financial reasons and because they like their careers."

    ". . . opportunities to re-enter are few and far between. Just 73% land jobs, and 24% of these end up having to take part-time jobs."

"These women also are stigmatized as not serious enough and often find it hard to advance."

    "Just 4% of women in our US survey hold "extreme jobs" -- jobs requiring 60-plus workweek hours or other demands such as 24/7 attention to global clients and lots of travel."

    "highly qualified women aren't afraid of hard work and responsibility."


It would seem that some women have earned the stigma of "not being serious enough" when it comes to their career or advancement. Credibility is earned and not easily trifled with. Too many women make the "oops!" mistake of leaving a career track only to change their minds later on and beg to be let back into the job workplace.

If some women are making the decision to quit without adequately considering the long term consequences of that choice, then they have not been listening to at least two generations of women who struggled with the same challenge. They also are not reading any one of thousands of books or listening to any one of thousands of personal counselors. Too many women today flaunt their belief that "they're different." If they believe that the rules of economic performance do not apply to them, they will just have to learn their lessons in time. It does not follow that others should make it easy for them. The question is whether they learn their economic lesson before they experience any long term career or income damage.

If only a trivial number of women (4%) even experience "extreme hours," why are so many women whining about the tough hours and work conditions? The women who are NOT afraid of hard work and responsibility are distinguished by their top qualifications. Performance matters.

Hewlett suggests that men have ulterior motives for not patronizing women's demands: "For some business leaders, accommodating women's nonlinearity . . .means men give up their last remaining competitive advantage
over women." [i.e., men's willingness to put in long workweeks year after year.]

Once again, some women can only see 'some vast right wing conspiracy' (not necessarily either Democratic or Republican Party adherents) out there in the business marketplace. And they believe the world is dominated by bad men, especially, just waiting to pounce!

This world-view is very difficult to reconcile with the contrary facts that men have brought women onto boards, men have passed rights legislation, men have built companies and men are hiring and promoting females in record numbers. Yes, not all men are equally open minded. Don Imuses exist, among others. Yet, most of the advancement that has been made possible for women has occurred at the initiation and with the support and encouragement of many good men.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Thinking Anew - Part 3

Jo Handelsman, professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lead author in an August 19, 2005 Policy Forum in the Journal Science on "where are the women scientists?"

Women represent:

    half of all PhD. graduates in biology.

    about 30% of assistant professors,

    25% of associate professors

    15% of full professors within the biological sciences.

    12% of the Ph.Ds in physical sciences and engineering.

    6% of the tenured full professors in sciences.

    4% of the tenured full professors in engineering.

    24.7% of Ph.Ds. in astronomy, chemistry, computer science, mathematics and physics.

    15.3% of Ph.Ds. in engineering.


Handelsman et al. argue that the problem is with institutions:

    The education pipeline.

    The climate of academia.

    Unconscious bias from men and women.

    Difficulties women have balancing family and work.

Have you noticed that "the problem" always seems to be with "someone else" rather than in the hands of women and the choices or the decisions that they make. Women tell us that "the problem" is everywhere but in their domain: "the job" is the offender, "the culture" is the offender, "all men" are the offenders or "having babies or families" is the offender, or "caring for others" is the offender.

These are some of the statements that many women make as they gather together "to support each other" in their unwillingness to accept responsibility for their own actions and lives.

Some women need to understand that they are the ones who make the job, they create the culture, they interact with the men, and they have the choice to have families and children. AND once those choices are made, there are consequences with which they must deal.

For example, when the Census or Education or Professional Associations report data identify gaps, disparities or differences between people of different genders in each area, then we should pursue two sources of additional information. We could focus on the benefits that one gender gains from their choices and activities, and we can focus on the benefits that the other gender gains from their choices and activities. Since they both operate inside the medium (the culture, the institution or the profession), those external factors exist for both genders.

What is different is how the factors IMPACT individuals within the medium. What is different is how individuals respond to those impacts. And then, what are the choices they make in an attempt to accommodate those impacts?

"There is a systematic system [sic] within academia that reinforces discrimination."

"Many women who experience this discrimination don't realize that what they are suffering is what thousands of other women are suffering."

This approach to defining "the problem" suggests there is a rampant disease out there which makes only women ill and that not all women even know that they are ill in that environment.

Real women in real leadership roles take ownership and responsibility for their lives and their environments. They search for learning opportunities. By painting "all academia" with the same "evilness brush," we are ignoring tremendous differences in the choices some women are making about careers. Women in law schools average 40 to 52 percent of enrollment, with an overall average of 48.2% at the top 183 U.S. law schools. Faculty at law schools average 35.9% females, ranging from 8.2% of emeriti deans and professors (the older generation), 18.8% of current deans, 25.9% of current professors, all the way up to 67-70% of assistant deans. [Source: Association of American Law Schools]

Women represent 30% of all medical school faculty, including 10% of deans and of department chairs, 14% of full professors. In 2003, women represented 50.8% of medical school applicants, 48% of enrolled students, and 26% of all physicians. [Source: American Medical Association, Women Physicians Congress]

Contrast those levels with the data about women at business schools. At the top 60 US business schools, women represent 21.8% of the faculty, 15.1% of the trustees, and 30% of the student enrollment. US business schools rank 49th among the top 100 global business schools. [Source: Financial Times.]

Other arguments are these:

    Women have few role models to inspire them.

    Women are not actively encouraged by their advisors to pursue academic careers.

    Women faculty describe the academic climate as "chilly."

    Yet, department chairs report a better academic climate than women and minorities within their departments.

    Many women FEAR that it WILL BE difficult if not impossible to integrate family and careers in academic science.

    Women WANT role models of women who have done so.


It is not unusual for women to desire "answers to their questions." But, to attribute their lack or ignorance of solutions to a dearth of inspirational role models once again blames "everyone else" for the failure on the part of some women to go out and find appropriate role models. The achievements, competencies, availability, and the sheer information and knowledge about these role model females exceed anything available to women at any previous time in history. What is different today is the desire on the part of some women to have others hand feed them quick and easy solutions.

Women have more role models to inspire them than ever before. The percentage of college and university presidents who are women more than doubled from 9.5% in 1986 to 23% by 2006. That represents an increase from 200 female presidents at 2,105 campuses twenty years ago to a total of 494 female president out
of 2,148 campuses today: an increase of more than 14 women every year for the past 2 decades.


There are comparable statistics in every field of endeavor. However, there is a tendency on the part of some women to repeat their personal wants and needs ad infinitum until they wear down the patience and endurance of men and women everywhere. There is a tendency for some women to "trouble talk" about their fears and anxieties to a level that will draw attention and sympathy from those caring and concerned men and women with whom they come in contact.

Handelman's recommended solutions, again, assume that "someone else" other than aspiring women will make all the necessary changes for them:

    Programs to ENGAGE more undergraduate women in science and engineering.

    Educating faculty search committees about unconscious biases prior to hiring decisions.

    Monitoring salaries and teaching loads.

    Monitoring women's access to research space.

    Encouraging the professional development of women and minorities through SPECIALLY-DESIGNED programs in leadership development.

    Development of gender-equity projects to pair tenured women with female junior faculty.

    Development of programs that promote balance between family and work-life.

    Development of job-sharing for dual-career couples, campus child care, and flexible work hours.


The number of such programs has risen exponentially in the past decade in tandem with the decline in the growth rate of women ascending to top leadership roles. Perhaps the two are related. When women, earlier, faced economic challenges in lower income eras, when women faced more discrimination, when they confronted tough competition for the first time, women responded by challenging the status quo; and the measures of performance showed improvements in wages, positions and satisfaction. Now, with the advent of such "programs," perhaps some women are comfortable staying in status quo situations and are no longer interested in any significant further advancements. Perhaps these "special programs" actually contribute to a complacency and a lack of ambition on the part of some women.

Some important, but unasked, questions are "who is paying" for these special programs and "who is benefiting?" Are we even doing the calculations necessary to know what is the price that we as society are paying to entice some women to stay in the marketplace? If the costs of Deloitte-Touche accounting services include a significant imbedded subsidy of programs to bribe young women to work on Sarbanes-Oxley audits, does a client company have any right to know the premium that the firms is demanding? Is this a significant or a trivial contributor to the dramatic escalation in costs that companies have incurred in SOX audit fees?

If healthcare industry costs are going through the roof, patient service queues significantly longer and processing costs escalating unabatedly, what part of those "changes" are due to the implementation of programs that require providers to subsidize employee child care, that give employees flexible time to complete work tasks at their leisure, or that provide employee job-sharing opportunities but incur the confusion of poor job-coordination and task hand-off. If clients knew the costs they were being asked to incur, would they consciously accept such a premium? If companies had no way to determine if these measures were EFFECTIVE, would clients willingly accept the costs of these programs?

Handelsman concludes that, "All of the barriers can be removed if we put our collective mind and will into doing it."

What if, instead, the women who truly aspire to become leaders in academia put their collective shoulders to the wheel and stop expecting some dea ex machina to pop up and make the world perfect for them. Perhaps they could begin by talking to those "few women" who did succeed in leadership, with much fewer "programs" and assistance than exist today. If they can do it, so can others.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Thinking Anew - Part 2

Jean Ross, executive Director of the California Budget Project, [www.cbp.org] a nonprofit organization seeking fiscal reforms to benefit low and moderate income Californians.

"Women across the earning distribution have made progress in recent decades. In contrast, many working men have seen their earnings fail to keep pace with inflation."

    The hourly wage of the typical woman worker increased 23.7% between 1979 and 2002 (after adjusting for inflation.)

    Reason: more women moved into higher paying occupations which experienced strong wage growth between 1989 and 2002

"Women still earn less than men across earnings distribution, even after controlling for education."

    2006 Median hourly pay for California men with bachelor's degree was $31.03

    2006 Median hourly pay for California women with the same degree was $24.75
    One in 3 women worked in the educational and health services sectors (vs. 1/10 men): the wages increased nearly 3 times the average wage.

    One in 11 women worked in the financial sector (vs. 1/17 men): the wages increased 16 times the average wage.

Ross also recommends that "tougher legislation is needed to erase the pay gap" between men and women.

It looks as if women, when they finally choose to follow higher income industry sectors and fast growing wage sectors, they can make excellent wage progress compared to men. There is no legislation that could deal with this situation. Hourly wages of workers with more education have risen faster than inflation -- just as we would expect. All this happened WITHOUT any additional laws or costly lawsuits.

What legislation would be effective in inducing women to stop choosing low-income sectors where excess quantities of women bid each other's salaries downward so they can all squeeze into those preferred economic sectors? Should we implement legislation that penalizes the men who made higher income choices along alternative paths? Finally, if men's wages are the ones that are NOT keeping pace with inflation, today, do the men have any reasonable expectation for legislation to protect them again women making more money?

Let us assume that some form of legislation might be passed. There remains the requirement that somebody enforce the law and that somebody else be willing to file law suits on the merits of each case. If women chose not to be in positions where they have the power to enforce or argue these cases, then we are expecting only men to take on the battle on behalf of women after the legislation is passed. If they were inclined to do that, then why wouldn't they just give equitable salaries to the women in the first place and avoid the laws and lawsuits after the fact?

Women are pursing economic sectors which they have been conditioned to prefer. Women also prefer the beauty industry, which is notoriously low-wage, but the consumer dollars PAID OUT by women are huge:

    P&G - $6 BILLION in world wide beauty industry sales/annum

    L'Oreal - $20.8 BILLION in world wide beauty industry sales/annum



The same is true of the fashion and entertainment industries: very low wage, very high consumer outlays. When women en masse pursue one segment of the economy, en masse, they compete primarily against each other for these "preferred" consumer areas where they drive the average wages downward.

An important finding of Ross was that "higher rates of employment for women aged 55 to 69" helped explain the rise in incomes: 46.4% of women in that age bracket were employed. About 40% of all workers aged 66 to 70 said they needed the income to live on, while over 70% said they wanted to do meaningful work.

Education is a crucial indicator of success. What you do with that education, either focus only on consumption or focus on economic choices, makes a real difference in the stream of future earnings. You have another choice besides economic sector: you can earn a comparable wage while young, rising up the career ladder, or you can work long into your retirement years.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Thinking Anew - Part 1

"Women have NOT filled the pipeline. . . because. . . "

We disagree. Women HAVE filled the pipeline and ARE filling the pipeline in large and increasing numbers and with tremendous talent and competence. What we are not seeing is American media taking any appreciable time or effort to look at these women or document their progress. What we ARE seeing, again and again AND AGAIN, is the same old "girl tawk" from 30 to 35 years ago. It is time to think anew.

In the pages that follow, we focus on a handful of recent writings from the "women's rights advocates." And append comments in blue.


Catherine Hill, research director for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) studying the U.S. Department of Education data on the gender pay gap. Testimony before the US House Committee on Education and Labor, April 24, 2007 regarding the AAUW research, Behind the Pay Gap, co-authored with Judy Goldberg Dey (released April 23, 2007).

    In 1994: 1 year out of college, women earned 80% of what their male counterparts did.

    In 2003: 10 years out of college, women earned 69% of what their male counterparts did.

This in spite of the facts that:

    More women than men earn college degrees.

    Salaries of college-educated women have risen faster than male counterparts.

According to Hill, the explanation for the 20% 1-year pay gap AND the 31% 10-year pay gap is this:

    1. Women choose lower earning majors (i.e., education, health, psychology) vs. men (who choose math, physical sciences and business). When women do choose higher earning majors, they make more money.

    2. Women choose lower earning jobs and positions (i.e., teaching, nonprofit, and public sectors) vs. men (who choose higher paying jobs and positions (i.e., work in business or computer science.) When women choose higher-earning jobs or positions, they make more money.

    3. After controlling for major, occupation, industry sector, hours worked, workplace flexibility, experience, educational attainment, enrollment status, GPA, institutional selectivity, age, race/ethnicity, region, marital status, and children, STILL there is a 5% difference in the earnings of male vs. female college graduates which cannot be explained and MUST be due to DISCRIMINATION.

Hill's recommendations are a mixed bag:

The gender pay gap will continue UNTIL:

    1. Women pursue careers in science and engineering

    2. Women become tougher negotiators

    3. Employers do more to accommodate the needs of mothers with young children.

    4. Sex discrimination in the workplace is eliminated.

"Occupational segregation" and "gender division" by industry in part includes choices that women are making. Many women do not want science and engineering careers because they have been socialized to believe those are "boys' career paths." It is not that they cannot pursue these challenging careers, but they have accepted the hype and fears that discourage women from pursuing such opportunities. They bought into the socializing messages.

Women on boards who pursued a science/engineering career cite their love and appreciation of science acquired in elementary school and mention being encouraged to experiment in those areas by family and community support. Many women directors with science backgrounds also point to nontraditional early growth experiences which taught them to reject or veer away from stereotypical little girl media and socialization influences, with their negative "group-think."

Hill understate the likely impact of the many women who become teachers and how they socialize the next generation of young girls. If there is some "theta" or unexplained salary gap, why could it not be caused by female teachers passing on social/cultural bias to young girls as easily as it could be male adult bias within the adult setting? Are these women who opted for some easier career path persuading young girls to avoid "boys' career paths?" If that is the case, then trying to address the gap at the college or workplace level is too late by about 10 to 15 years worth of indoctrination. We would do much better to address the problem through positive socialization much earlier in young girls' experience, before teachers and/or mothers started stereotyping them into low-salary career choices.

Women do not start out "behind;" they start out "ahead" and somehow get sidelined along the way. Is it teachers? Is it television? Is it Cosmo and other teen magazines? Is it "other girls?" What happens to sideline so many educated, talented and competent women?

Females represent 51% of the total population. There are 2.4 MORE women than men in the population aged 15 years or older attending undergraduate and graduate schools fulltime and parttime. In graduate schools alone, women outnumber men by about 606,000. [Sources: US Bureau of the Census, US Dept. of Education.]

Women have outnumbered men enrolled in colleges every year since 1974. In the period 1960 to 2004, women have outnumbered men enrolled in college by 2.8 times (1.5 million more women have attended college than men). In the same period, women have outnumbered men graduating from high school by 22.6 times (4.7 million more women have graduated from high school than men). In 1960, 408,000 men enrolled in college vs. 350,000 women; by 2004, 815,000 men enrolled in college vs. 1,020,000 women. [Source: National Center for Education Statistics]

The idea that working mothers are the ones who deserve special attention is not supported by the data. Women with no children, today, represent 68.2% of those available to work in the civilian labor force (female, aged 16 years and over), while women with children under 18 represent 31.8%.

The total female employed civilian labor force with kids under 6 years is only 10.1 million (just 15.6% of the total employed females 16 years and over) and the number with kids under 3 years is less than half that (4,983,000 or just 7.7% of that same total). What is the matter with the almost 2/3rs of the female working population without kids that they don't push their majority and educated advantages? Why does the pay gap INCREASE over time? It really is hard to believe that workplaces are getting MORE discriminatory rather than less.

The AAUW report found that "women's wage penalties" were related to women's choices. Mothers earned the same as non-mothers when both worked full-time. When women "opted out" or worked part-time, they earned less and the gap accumulated over time.

The AAUW report also found "pink ghetto-ization:" "If 'too many' women make the same occupational choice, resulting in job segregation, earnings can be expected to decline."

What kind of legislation could possible protect women from their own lemming-like behavior? If women cannot use the legislation currently on the books to address discrimination, because they are not in positions of power in politics or in law firms, then how would passing more laws remedy the situation? Are women filing suit under current legislation or are they quietly walking away from work scenarios that scare them? If women are not willing to fight for the jobs and earnings they want, what legislation could possibly help them? Are women willing to endure the years required, as in Dukes vs. Wal Mart (pending since 2000), to "make the case stick?"