I read Edward R. Silverman's piece on the National Science Foundation employment study [The Scientist, April 14, 1997, page 1] several times trying to grasp the significance of this study, which seems to have escaped everyone who was interviewed for this article.

The data seemed to show that (1) some employers pay better than others; (2) employees with advanced training get paid more; (3) some fields pay better than others; (4) some types of work pay better; (5) people who work longer get paid better; and (6) people who place higher priority on their paying jobs earn higher salaries. These wonderfully rational, purely economic factors account for at least 90 percent of the gender gap in salaries. This study reveals that women have virtually the same control over their progress as anyone in science through the choices that they make. How can this be depressing news for...

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