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Women, careers, and work-life preferences

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There are no sex differences in cognitive ability but enduring sex differences in competitiveness, life goals, the relative emphasis on agency versus connection. Policy-makers' and feminist emphasis on equal opportunities and family-friendly policies assumes that sex discrimination is the primary source of sex differentials in labour market outcomes—notably the pay gap between men and women. However, some careers and occupations cannot be domesticated—examples are given—and this also poses limits to social engineering. Recent research shows that high levels of female employment and family-friendly policies reduce gender equality in the workforce and produce the glass ceiling. Preference theory is the only theory that can explain these new trends, the continuing pay gap and occupational segregation. Preference theory implies that there are at least three types of career rather than one. However, the differences between men and women's career goals are smaller than sometimes thought.

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