Young women MBAs earn less on the job than male classmates

Young women MBAs pay a price for participating in the corporate world, a new Stanford University study shows. Two or three years after graduating from a prestigious business school, women earn an average of $4,000 less than their male classmates and hold fewer executive level positions.

Where women without children felt their work had a negative impact on decisions about childbearing, for men being a parent had a positive effect on work.

Much more often the men, young women MBAs felt they must be the best at all they do. Women more often had primary responsibility for household and child-care tasks.

Far more often than men, women worry about job responsibilities while at home and home responsibilities while at work.

"In attempting to integrate multiple and often conflicting roles, these women are living out the myth of the 'superwoman,'" the study found.

The finding were based on questionnaires received from 73 women and 50 men who graduated from a prestigious graduate business school in 1977 and 1978. Both groups averaged 29 years old. About half were married, and 86 percent of both groups were childless.

While both groups said they were satisfied with their jobs and their progress compared with others in similar positions, men said they would like to earn $42, 000 currently to be satisfied, compared with $31,000 for the women.

Their actual salaries averaged $29,676 for the men and $25,688 for the women. The researchers were surprised that women entering a highly competitive occupational sphere were not more dissatisfied with their lower pay and status.

Women may be unaware of these differences or less concerned than men with wealth or position, they hypothesized. The women MBAs may be comparing their progress with other workers and women in gen eral, rather than their classmates.

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