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Side Stepping the Gap

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The side gig economy has a gender wage gap

by Chris O’Shea

According to a paper published by researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research, women hoping to close the gender pay gap in the gig economy have some work to do. The report, which focused on Uber drivers, found that women drivers only make 93 cents for every dollar their male counterparts made.

The researchers found that the Uber pay gap was caused by three factors: How long a driver has been working for Uber, location and time preferences from the drivers and average driving speed. The study found that when compared to men, women drivers typically hadn’t been driving as long for Uber, preferred female passengers and earlier hours, and drove slower. “This suggests that, as the gig economy grows and brings more flexibility in employment, women’s relatively high opportunity cost of non-paid-work time and gender-based preference differences can perpetuate a gender earnings gap even in the absence of discrimination,” the researchers wrote.

Marketwatch reports that another factor contributing to the side gig gender pay gap is choice of work. A recent report found that the most popular side job for men is some type of manual labor — such as plumbing and electrical services. Meanwhile, the most popular side gig for women is child care. Overall, manual labor jobs paid more per hour than child care.

If you’re a woman considering a side hustle, don’t get discouraged by this news. Instead, use it to fuel your fire to get paid equally. One of the best parts about side gigs is that usually you have the power to set your own rates, so do it. Conduct some research on what men are making in that specific side gig and negotiate that rate. Hustling to get paid is just one part of the side hustle life.