In an interview on NPR Tuesday morning, Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles talked about our culture's double-standard on men's interests versus women's interests. Asked if there's a contradiction between how her magazine depicts women (see the latest cover below) and the career advice it gives (like how to negotiate a higher salary), Coles said the following:
I think that women's lives are multilayered. I have no problem understanding that women are interested in mascara and the Middle East. Men are allowed to talk about sports relentlessly and yet we still take them seriously. I don't understand why women can't talk about fashion, or sex, or love, or wanting more money and not be taken as seriously as men.
Coles may have been arguing on behalf of Cosmopolitan's recent entry into political coverage, but her point applies just as much to women in the workforce. Data backs Coles's assertion, and goes further to show how women's lives are the worse for it. As Bryce Covert has explained, a complicated mix of factors account for why women today still make an average 23 percent less than their male peers. One of these factors could be discrimination based on gender, which is a hard thing for researchers to measure precisely. But at least two studies from the Government Accountability Office and Cornell University economists suggest discrimination plays a role because the typical reasons for lower earnings, like experience and career choice, don't account for the entire gap in wages.