Updated: Jan 15, 2020
The Taub Center released recently a very interesting study about the gender salary gap in Israel. They found that "the largest sources for the wage gaps between men and women are the number of hours worked and differences in occupational choices made at young ages."
Lawmakers and journalists love to publicize a gender gap of 40%. They usually forget to mention that these statistics are calculated on monthly and not hourly wages. Since women on average work fewer hours, most of the time out of personal choice, they earn less monthly. In fact, the Taub study found that more than half of the wage gap disappears when looking at hourly wages.
A wage gap of 20% isn't a perfect outcome but it is better than double. Interestingly enough this wage gap can also be explained almost entirely by the difference in education and career choices for women compared to men. Fewer women study in fields that have the highest salaries such as engineering, physics, and mathematics. They also tend to join less well-paying sectors such as education or health. When looking at hourly wages by professions the gender pay gap goes to zero for certain professions like teachers, lawyers, judges, computer programmers, biologists, and managers.
In fact, it seems like the professions with the most flexibility are the least punitive for women. Instead of proposing new legislation that will reduce flexibility in the labor markets, our lawmakers should encourage fluid labor markets.