Although it doesn’t fully explain the wage-gender gap, new research from a University of New Mexico study could provide a small bit of insight into how and why it persists.

UNM researcher Scott Taylor studied 251 managers and found that women were far less likely (three times less!) than men to accurately predict their coworkers’ perception of their work performance. Although women rated their own job performance highly compared to men in the study, they undercut themselves when asked to rate their performance through their coworkers’ and managers’ eyes across many key workplace attributes – leadership, teamwork, trustworthiness and conflict management. 

So, are women partly to blame for being paid less (the infamous statistic of 77 cents on the dollar) than men? Perhaps a little.

I remember as I grew up, my mom taught me that I had to be my own biggest advocate – not in an obnoxious, showy way, but in a way that left no doubt about what I could do and the value I could bring to the table. While I have no way of knowing for certain if it helped me to shrink or eliminate the pay gap in my case, I believe the advice nonetheless has served me well.

But I don’t think Taylor’s research can rest the blame for the pay gap squarely on women’s shoulders. Because we all know that in many less-evolved workplaces, a man who advocates for himself is a go-getter, and a woman who does the same is … well, something else. The same double standard applies to parenthood and other personal traits and lifestyles.

I think there is something for men and women to learn from Taylor’s findings, and that enhanced insight can only help the workplace.

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