One way to close the pay gap for women

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Is the United States falling behind in women's rights?
02:01 - Source: CNN

Editor’s Note: Mary Ellen Carter is an associate professor of accounting with the Carroll School of Management at Boston College; the focus of her research is executive compensation. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Story highlights

Mary Ellen Carter: On National Equal Pay Day, grim truth is women still make less than men. But there's good news for corporate women

She says research shows pay gap lower when women serve on corporate boards; effect spreads to company's other executive level women

CNN  — 

That women have long been paid less than men for the same job is not news. Susan B. Anthony advocated equal pay for equal work back in 1868. It’s been nearly 150 years since then; we’ve come very far, haven’t we? If only.

Mary Ellen Carter

In fact, as we observe National Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, the news remains discouraging. I study executive compensation, and I can confirm that even the most powerful women in America are still paid less than their male counterparts. But there is some good news.

Some U.S. companies have discovered a way to close the gap: putting more women on their boards of directors.

In new research my co-authors and I found that pay gaps are much lower when more women serve on corporate boards. For example, the proportion of female directors at the Massachusetts company TJX (parent of T.J. Maxx, Home Goods and other apparel and home goods retailers) has hovered around 30% since 2006.