Flexible Work Alone Won’t Create Gender Equality, but These Things Might

Article/Op-Ed in Slate
Oct. 27, 2017

For Flex-It week on the Better Life Lab Channel on Slate, Brigid Schulte writes about research that shows flexible work, puzzlingly, both does and doesn’t promote gender equality.

In her presidential address to the prestigious American Economic Association in 2014, Harvard economist Claudia Goldin argued that it’s not so much the government passing anti-discrimination or family friendly policies or men doing more at home (“although that wouldn’t hurt”) that would at last bring gender equality to the workplace. It’s flexible work.

By completely restructuring work and no longer disproportionately rewarding long and specific hours of face time in the office, Goldin argued, the gender pay gap could disappear; women wouldn’t be edged out of promotions, leadership, higher pay and even work itself once they started families—the pivot point that stalls most women’s work trajectories today.