Women earn less — even at home

A recent review of research on home-based businesses has revealed that women who work from home earn less than men in similar positions — in some cases, almost three times less.

And although many of the women tended to own businesses in traditionally female occupations, such as beautician, they earned less even when they were in the same occupations as men.

The findings, which have been reported in the book, “Gender and Home-Based Employment,” tend to support the fact that although home-based businesses allow women more flexibility and control of their work, they don’t necessarily offer higher earnings.

The research revealed that women home-based business owners have some distinct disadvantages that may negatively affect their earnings. For example:

  • Women home-based business owners tend to own businesses that are labor-intensive, but may be understaffed. Men’s home-based businesses are more likely to have paid employees or family help.
  • While women home-based business owners generally have more job-related experience than men, men home-based business owners tend to have more management experience.
  • Women are more likely to combine child care with home-based work, giving them less time to spend on their businesses.
  • Women may view their earnings as supplemental to their spouse’s income, which could cause them to underprice their products or services.

Sources: The Ohio State University, Research Communications; “Gender and Home-Based Employment” (Auburn House, 2000)