Study: Gender Pay Gap Caused By Girls Aspiring to Lower-Paid Jobs

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An important driver behind the so-called gender pay gap is that teenage girls aspire to lower-paid careers than boys, according to a major new study.

Analysing data collected from nearly 8,000 teenagers in Britain, researchers at University College London (UCL)’s Institute for Education found that the careers 14-year-old girls highlighted as their ideal future jobs paid 27 per cent or £6.49 less per hour than those chosen by boys of the same age.

While both sexes named high-paying careers among their top jobs, researchers found that a significant pay gap between the choices of the two groups remained even after they excluded from calculations the aspirations of boys who wanted to become highly-paid professional sports stars.

The jobs most popular amongst teenage girls in the sample were careers in medicine and law, as well as a secondary school teacher, a singer, a vet, a nurse and a midwife.

The list for boys included a professional sportsman, a software developer, an engineer, the army, an architect and a secondary school teacher, according to the Telegraph.

Professor Lucinda Platt said the study’s findings show the “importance of recognising the role of both boys’ and girls’ choices in perpetuating labour market inequalities”.

Platt, one of the co-authors of the research, added that young people should be “encouraged and supported to think beyond gender stereotypes” when they think about their job opportunities for the future.

Co-author Dr Sam Parsons said he was surprised to find such “gendered differences” in the aspirations of teenagers, stating: “Despite aiming high academically and professionally, girls still appear to be aiming for less well-paid jobs.”

Differences between male and female average earnings continue to be a hot topic in the West, with politicians urging new ways to close the “gender pay gap”, the cause of which they allege is sexism, despite increasing evidence that choices play a large role.


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