Lesbians make more money than straight women (And nobody really knows why)


Statistically, women are paid less than men for the same jobs. But here's something I didn't realize—lesbian women are paid more than straight women.

Even when you control for factors like race, education, profession, location, and even number of children, lesbians still make about 6% more than straight gals. There are a lot of theories about why this happens (I, for one, am curious as to whether lesbians are more likely to negotiate for raises than straight women), but one theory centers around the idea that straight women expect to, eventually, be involved with a man. And they expect, just as reasonably, that that man will earn more than they do—and, thus, when it comes time to decide who will make career sacrifices, the women expect that they'll be the ones to take that hit. All those assumptions make sense—given what we know about American life—and they all lead to straight women investing less human capital in their careers. Anyway, that's the theory tested by a 2009 study explained by The Big Think blog:

This theory is cleverly tested in a paper which calculates the wage premium paid to lesbians in two distinct groups--those who were once in a heterosexual marriage and those have never been married.* The assumption made is reasonable; lesbian women who were once married to men (about 44% of the lesbians in the sample) presumably have in the past had the expectation that they would have a marriage partner with a higher income. The never-married women might also have had this expectation, but it is much more likely that, on average, women in that group expected to be in a relationship with another woman with a comparable income.

Does the evidence support the theory that the wage premium can be explained by greater investment in more market-oriented skills by lesbian women? Well the premium does not disappear completely for the subset of previously married women but is reduced by about 17%, providing some support for the idea. At 5.2% though, the once-married lesbian premium is still high enough that I don't think we can consider the case closed.

So why does the lesbian wage premium exist? Nobody is really sure. Hopefully further research will make more sense of this. I'm posting about it mainly because I had no idea this phenomenon existed, until I read the Big Think story. Some other research angles I'd love to know more about: Whether some lesbians make more than others and whether that can be correlated to differences in social circles and personality; what do high-earning straight women and high-earning lesbian women have in common; and (from a more navel-gazing perspective) where do bisexual women stand?

Image: Some rights reserved by AMagill


  1. Whether some lesbians make more than others

    Um, yes, obviously? Unless by “lesbians” you mean “kibbutzniks” or something else completely unrelated.

  2. Too lazy to log in, but to a statistically meaningful degree lesbians don’t have the pregnancy gap. That family leave does slow the rate of pay increases for female employees. Obviously its not true across the board, but were talking about aggregate statistics here.

    I’d be curious to see a comparison of childless women vs. men regardless of sexual orientation. Would also be good to check adoptive female parents vs. ones who have had pregnancies.

  3. Maybe lesbians work more hours than non-lesbian women? One of the key differences between women and men in the work force is that women work fewer hours than men (average is 41.6 hours/week for men and 36 hours/week for women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Working more hours could impact pay rate, with people who work longer hours moving further ahead in their careers. I didn’t see this listed as the factors that were controlled for, so we can’t tell if working more hours was what made the difference.

    1. In their results, they show both hourly wage and hours worked per week. Lesbians worked slightly more hours on average (around 44 vs around 42 for heterosexuals). The difference seems to be accounted for mainly in terms of hourly wages.

      Oh, and they also seem to have corrected for potential experience and years of education.

      Paywalls for academic journal papers are very, very frustrating.

      Oh, and as for bisexual women — the study used US census data. I’m not sure whether that data has a question for “are you bisexual”?

  4. I would assume that lesbians do less second-shift work than straight women. Their partners are more likely to share the load with them. Maybe this could make a difference?

  5. I´m sure 4chan has very clever explanations for this.

    I have some funny sexy explanations that I will not share, but…

    I bet that it is because most lesbians have a male mindset, they say things straight, without much ambivalence. That´s not much, but is an explanation…

  6. Does the study find some way to compensate for closeted lesbians? Even nowadays, it takes a certain amount of courage to come out of the closet, which could translate to career choices.

    1. In the 2009 paper, they do make the point that it has been previously found that lower-income lesbians are less likely to answer census questions about their sexuality, and they do acknowledge that this may upwardly bias their estimate of the wage difference.

  7. But how many hours men and women work on average would be a reflection of the kind of jobs they can get. If you’ve got a system say, that discriminates against women so that more of them are in part-time jobs, that’d drag the average down. (Just speaking theoretically here). So that doesn’t really tell you much.

    There is an argument that women make less because they have children…maybe lesbians have fewer children as a group?

  8. Men work an average of 41.6 hours a week!!! What a fool I am, I have been working 45-50 hours a week for forty years. That means some guy is working about 30 hours a week to offset me, what kind of job is that? I want it.

  9. I’m pretty sure that as a straight single female with serious relationship trust issues, I can compete successfully with lesbians, at least in the salary area anyway. I also don’t have any expectations around a man rescuing me, and though I prefer men, I don’t seem to be able to lead the ones I really want to commit. (I make bad choices to begin with, I believe…) Maybe one day I will work out my issues, and decide to subvert my career for the right relationship. Or not.

    That’s fine though, because I get to keep my own money and piss it away in real estate, the stock market, and loser relatives, just like everybody else.

  10. Are the employers aware that the women are lesbian? The employer may be assuming a lesbian’s lifestyle generates as much flexibility as the stereotypical male’s and pays them accordingly.

  11. If you look at other research on lesbians you would see that they still receive a lot of discrimination. They have higher rates of disciplinary action in school and by police. I think this is really about assimilation. Lesbians who can “pass” or do not make straight people uncomfortable by pushing gender roles too far can be successful. Lesbians who are too butch make people uneasy and I doubt they make more money than straight women.

  12. All those assumptions make sense—given what we know about American life—

    Do they? My wife never made those assumptions — I’ve followed her across the country four times for her career (once for grad school, three times for jobs), and now she makes quite a bit more than me. I don’t recall it ever being an issue — it seemed like the obvious thing to do. It seems pretty common among her (straight) female colleagues, too. Maybe it’s part of the academic nomad mindset?

    1. After the correlation vs. causation comment, it struck me that there’s a pretty simple explanation for causation the other way: lesbians who make more money may be more likely to be secure enough to come out. If all the lesbians who are too poor and powerless to come out are reported in the survey as straight women, then they’ll leave the income for lesbians skewed high, and lower the average for “straight” women.

  13. Maybe because lesbians have less children than straight women? If a woman wants extended leave for children (beyond FMLA) she often has to give up her job, then loses the experience and seniority while out of the job market. When ready to re-enter the job market, she has to start all over. Triple whammy. Not saying that sexism is dead, but just saying… these sacrifices are a reality.

    1. They controlled for number of children, so lesbians who have fewer children would have been compared to straights with fewer children. It does make me wonder, though, do lesbians have the benefit of having to plan for a child? There’s no chance of an accidental pregnancy in a lesbian couple outside of infidelity, rape or one being a pre-op MtF transsexual, so a lesbian couple can more easily say “I know we want a baby, but if I get this promotion and work a few more years, we’ll have a nice nest egg”.

      The other factor, presumably, is that if there’s a wage disparity for a lesbian couple, the lower earner is more likely to drop out and thus drive up the average, and a lesbian housewife is less conditioned to accept staying at home long enough to fuck up her career while the Mrs earns all the money. So looking at how long lesbians tend to stay out of work after birth would be interesting, could be an interesting control if they have a large enough data set to make a significant statement.

    2. I’ve only found that to be the case if you decide to to only take off twelve weeks for maternity leave. If you decide to take off until the child is weaned/in school… well, you start to see problems.

      However, I’d love to see anyone who can take a year or more off (not for education) and NOT see their careers impacted. Still, it surprises me how many people lump all maternity leave into one pile.

  14. Here’s an argument by blatant assertion (argumentum ipso manifesto?):

    In hunting money or zebras there’s a tactical advantage for less empathy and more well.. heartless tactical thinking. Sexuality (and thus homosexuality) is mostly genetic (and likely a semi-continuum). A (true?) lesbian is less distracted by those aspects that make for a classic mother role and is more focused on those aspects that make for a classic father role. Business was (unfortunately) designed mostly out of a zebra hunting male mentality.

    There. An explanation worthy of every penny you paid for it.

  15. I work for the SF Fire Department. We probably have more females in the field (13 percent) than any fire department in the country (if not the world. . .)

    And this being San Francisco, the percentage of those women that are out lesbians is. . .significant.

    I believe (and I’m walking on eggshells here) that, for the most part, the lesbians are given more credit by the straight male members than they give to their straight female peers. (Though those self-same straight-women-discrediters tend to marry such female co-workers with surprising frequency. . .)

    Lesbians are more. . .direct? I don’t want to say ‘masculine’ exactly, but. . .straight gals can get flighty sometimes, more. . .emotional.

    (can I say that? I’m no psychoanalyst, I’m just speaking from my own experience. . .)

    I have (some, not all) straight female co-workers that I totally respect and would have no problem going into a burning building with, but there are some Sapphic gals I work with who are so. cool.

    Why. . .I spent a year and a half driving an ambulance in the Mission district with my lesbian Paramedic partner, sharing stories about our separate trips to Thailand. . .years later she is married to a Thai woman, speaks fluent Thai. . .but I digress. . .

    I guess the point of this spiel is that, IMMOSTHO: straight guys can -at times- have a better, more clear working relationship with lesbian co-workers, then one potentially clouded by gender/sexual overtones that one Might have with a straight female work partner. whew.

    And with that relationship, perhaps more cash is realized. In my line of work: everybody is paid the same. Out there in the World? I really don’t know. Just my .02

    I better leave this thread before I incriminate myself further. . .

    Happy Holidays erryone!

    1. I think your idea of non-straight women being more direct in their communication is quite right. It’s one of the characteristics about myself which makes me feel awkward in a group of straight women. I am brash and ruthlessly honest in comparison. Would like to know if other women have noticed this. I would imagine it’s an advantage in business dealings.

    2. You know what? This. I’ve actually considered letting the rumors fester about me being a lesbian so that my naturally more masculine demeanor wasn’t questioned as much as it is.

      Also, I’d be hit on a whole lot less.

  16. Hmm. I’m bi, married and every lesbian I know makes more than I do. They all seem to be much more career-focused than I could ever be. I am childless, but I really couldn’t care less about how much I make. Roof over my head and plenty of free time for other pursuits is my ideal. But maybe I’m just someone who looks for the best of both worlds, in general.

  17. I wondered about this too. There has to be a reason why, a factor.. something.

    Maybe it has something to do with lesbians not being with men, and therefore not being put into stereotypical roles as in “you stay at home and I work”?

    I just wrote a post about this recently about whether a man prefers a woman who makes less.

    Lesbians may not have the same hangups.

    Who knows. I’d like more studies on this.

  18. One of the factor is that employers are coerced by the bureaucrats to give more benefits to women than men (mostly related to children), so the market compensates this higher risk created by the regulations with relatively lower pay. I believe with lesbians there might be a slightly lower risk in this regard for some reason. I’d like to see the correlation with the employer’s knowledge of the woman being a lesbian.

  19. I was going to say they probably save money on makeup, their haircuts can be done just was well at Great Clips, and flannel shirts are very economical.

    But then I realized they end up spending more on softball equipment and Subarus.

    I kid – I kid! I heart lesbians!

    On a serious note – I wonder if it is less what they are doing – and rather more how people around them react. Are lesbians viewed differently that men are less likely to bar them under the glass ceiling or to see them more than just pair of boobs and ass, thus are more likely to judge and promote them based on merits? Are they viewed more like men, thus people are more likely to follow them in the work place?

  20. It is thought that fetal testosterone exposure affects digit ratio (length of ring finger compared to length of index finger). Lesbians have digit ratios that are more like heterosexual men. Fetal testosterone and digit ratio have previously been linked to risk taking and financial success in men.

    If you were to ask me about a biological cause, this is where I’d place the money. If you were to ask me about mediators, I think it’s worth looking at data about who asks for raises.

    If there’s anything at all to this, judging from digit ratios, I’d wager bisexual women are more like lesbians than like straight women. But probably in between.

  21. So, two of the main economic reasons given for the wage difference are that: a) women are more likely than men to leave the workforce, due to pregnancy or children or marriage or whatever, and b) women in the workforce tend to be concentrated, by themselves or others, in a limited selection of careers (secretary, nurse, all the old stereotypes) and avoid others (firefighting, factory or construction work, etc). Men can take whatever job.

    So, women tend to have slightly less experience, less contiguous experiences, and tend to be in more competitive (due to more concentration–they compete with many women and some men for jobs, where men can move to other professions: “That’s it, I’m done with waiting tables, I’m gonna be a miner!”)

    Now, lesbians (as #14 points out) may be more welcome in and/or more willing to take jobs outside of the usual stereotypical ‘female’ jobs. Those jobs tend to be higher-paying, since there’s less competition.

    And second, it would seem reasonable to assume that: a) lesbians are more likely to adopt, thus taking shorter leaves, b) are less likely to have children, and c) in any lesbian couple that does have children, one will continue working, and so will have the experience benefits of contiguous experience. Based on that, you’d expect, on average, that the wage gap due to experience would halve for lesbians.

    And, of course, there’s the definite possibility that some portion of the remaining difference is due to plain old sexism; maybe men feel more comfortable with lesbians somehow, and are more inclined to promote them or work effectively with them.

  22. It’s probably not what women plan to do when they will be in some future relationship, but rather what they actually do while they are in it – most women – even when they make as much or more than their male partners, are still expected to be the ones to stay home with the sick kids, move when he gets an opportunity in another state, and so on. It’s not their mind-set, in other words, but the reality of having their work lives disrupted all the time. Men, can you please start doing your share and stay home with the sick kids once in a while?

  23. i suppose it’s possible that women strategically invest less in their careers but i think when push comes to shove they’re just more polite. lesbians are less conflict-avoidant which wins them respect, promotions, and money. i’d like to see this done with women ranking themselves on how feminine they feel they are. totally agree with cjp, i feel kind of awkward around women because i’m too blunt. i’m not lesbian but i’m a pretty typical dyke. my guess is that gender presentation is more important here than sexuality.

  24. A lot of women I know seem to have a hard time psyching themselves up to ask for raises. I think it comes from cultural pressure to be “nice” and not displease people. I have no particular theory on how this interacts with sexuality, though. Perhaps “out” lesbians have been forced to confront that pressure already.

  25. While some industries are exceptions, in general their is equality between men and women in pay. The largest cause of the illusion of a pay gap is motherhood. When you compare women who choose not to have children to men the pay gap disappears. You have to understand that a large percentage of women leave the workplace for their children’s early childhood. Also a large amount work less, or not to their full potential in order to have more time with their child. When you take this time up you are giving up promotional opportunities and pay raises. This creates a statistical anomaly that makes it appear as if women get paid less then men. The larger problem here is that women are expected to make these sacrifices and men are not. Ideally more men would be the primary caregivers, and also more families would split responsibilities more evenly. The concept of lesbians making more backs this up. For the most part they can not have children, and even if they do the bias of whom sacrifices a career is statistically irrelevant.

  26. It’s because lesbians are more likely to get into fields and go for positions typically held by men than straight women. Those jobs also happen to pay more. Conversely, gay men make less than straight men because they’re more willing to take jobs considered women’s jobs. Those jobs also happen to pay less. Heteronormative society still sees jobs as gendered.

    Jobs considered “feminine” come with a lower wage than jobs considered “masculine.”

    1. Thanks, that’s pretty much exactly how I see it, just far better articulated.

      Also, just for reference, it wasn’t just the average wage of lesbians that was higher, but the standard deviation was nearly double too. That means that there was a far greater spread of wages around the average wage of lesbians than of heterosexual women (in that study).

  27. fivetonsflax has it right. It’s not just even asking for raises. All the straight women I know almost always accept the entry level wage for a new job, rather than asking for more, even when they bring years of experience to a new job. I think it comes down to knowing your own worth and the employer taking advantage of women who will not speak up for themselves. It’s not hard to imagine that women with open homosexual preferences have no difficulty knowing their own worth. This is not about acting butch, but simply saying that this is how much I am willing to accept for my work ethic, and then not backing down.

  28. I’m a bisexual female programmer, and I find that male coworkers are often attracted to the thrill of a potential threesome -even though I try not to get involved in office romances. I have often had male superiors falling over themselves to do me favors, presumably because they are fantasizing about seeing some hott ‘girl-on-girl action’ as portrayed in porn flicks. This always amuses me because I tend to have fairly staid monogamous relationships and have only had a few sexual partners. -And, most of those pornos are male fantasies written by and for men; nothing like real life.

  29. Because they’re far less likely take maternity leave or a break from their career when children enter the picture. You’re welcome. I’m solving all sorts of puzzles today.

  30. I think it’s because I present well. I’m not afraid to ask for $10,000 more than I think the job will pay. And almost every time, I actually *get* that amount. I think it’s a confidence thing. If you broke it down to find lesbians who are shy vs those who are self-promoting extroverts, I bet you’d find a much larger disparity. I’m in a field (marketing) that’s probably more women than men, so it’s not that I went for a science whereas straight women don’t. I know I get paid more than my counterparts – even males! – and I know it’s because I negotiate well.

  31. It’s clear that some of you are skating on the assumption that your butch/assertive co-workers are lesbians and the femme/passive ones aren’t. Or that lesbians only get jobs as executives and firefighters. Most of my lesbian friends are in the traditionally girly professionals of nursing and teaching, have or want children, and even wear dresses sometimes. There’s some big-ass selection/confirmation bias going on in these comments.

    1. Lesbians don’t only get jobs as firefighters and executives. They’re just more likely to. And nursing and teaching probably pays less than firefighting and executive jobs…regardless if they’re straight or lesbian. It’s not just whether one is more assertive that makes the difference in pay, it’s the field.

    2. Most of my lesbian friends are in the traditionally girly professions of nursing and teaching

      But aren’t you also in those professions? Most of my lesbian friends are scientists or social workers.

      1. I’m just saying that you can’t make assumptions about who’s a lesbian and who isn’t based on perceived behaviors or appearance.

        1. Yeah, that’s for sure! I’ve been surprised at least once.

          When I saw the title of the post, the income disparity thing didn’t really surprise me, and I haven’t figured out why yet. Intellectually, it seems like it should’ve been surprising, but emotionally, it wasn’t. Very odd.

          1. You might know that one of your co-workers is a lesbian but not have a clue that the mousy woman with the poodle hairdo and flowery skirt is one also. It’s like making assumptions about peafowl based on observing peacocks but not realizing that peahens are in the same species.

  32. Here are some potential economic explanations. The main jist of the following arguments is that at least part of the explanation may not reflect any inherent differences between gay and straight women, but may rather reflect the different social environments in which women rationally make future plans (e.g. with lesbians facing less economic security due to social norms and barriers).

    * One potential explanation considers the different future expectations of gay and straight women. Young straight women might be more likely to expect that their spouse will be a high income earner (given current gender divisions, and without making any assumptions about the causes of these divisions). Thus, straight women may have less of an incentive to invest in their education, or may invest in less “profitable” forms of education (e.g. majors in college), translating into lower future incomes. Young gay women, on the other hand, have less reason to assume that their future partner will earn a high income (again, due to current gender divisions) and thus have a greater incentive to invest in “profitable” types of education. I believe that such an argument is made here: http://www.jstor.org/pss/30033717
    * Additionally, young gay women might expect less future economic security due to various legal and social constraints. For example, most gay women cannot expect the economic security provided by marriage (such as the legal protections and tax breaks). Or, they might anticipate less future economic support from their families (because their families might be bigoted jerks). Again, this may lead gay women to pursue higher income jobs.
    * Along similar lines to artiefx0 and Kieran O’Neill, another example might be that women who come out are more likely to live in “tolerant” areas (possibly imperfectly captured by controls for location). “Tolerant” areas may also be less likely to discriminate against gay women in the job market. The point being that this statistic might understate the economic discrimination faced by gay women.

  33. Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg asserts that sharing duties equally with a partner in the household is key to the ability of a woman to devote the necessary resources to be successful in a workplace. Furthermore, she asserts that in a traditional hetero household, women perform more household duties than men, and perform more childcare than men. This leaves them with fewer resources in terms of time and energy to devote to their jobs.

    Lesbians’ earning more could reflect a more equal division of labor in the home, allowing more attention to be paid to career for both members of the relationship, relative to hetero women.

    Or, conversely, if labor is not divided equally in the home, the one who works more in a lesbian couple is a woman, instead of the usual result in hetero couples, where this is usually a man – so in this case you have a woman who is able to devote more than the usual resources to work than her hetero female peers.

    See Sheryl Sandberg’s talk here: http://on.mash.to/gzR

  34. I’m a lesbian, and this is giving me a headache. Hooey. I’ve had two female coworkers tell me they were interested in a threesome with their boyfriend. I’ve also had female coworkers who, upon realizing that I’m gay, felt the need to go on and on about how much they like sex with men. I’ve had both male and female coworkers ask me sex questions about being gay.

    This eventually subsides when they realize that I really have no interest in talking about sex with straight people.

    I’m more androgynous than butch really, and the breakthrough is getting coworkers to stop thinking in such a gendered way. And I mean both men and women who assume women are good at x and men are good at y.

    I’m a tech person. And I mean I’m technical. I can’t tell you how many times people just assumed I’m good at writing memos, writing web site copy and design, answering phones and dealing with people. I’m not a people person and I’m not really good at making things look pretty or sound pretty.

    I went to school for programming and networking. But I’ve been sucked into marketing meetings while the male IT coworkers fail to invite me on hardware installation jobs. The reason? “We didn’t think you wanted to get dirty.” It’s not because I’m a lesbian, it’s because I’m female.

    Lesbians are just more accustomed to breaking down and rejecting gender stereotypes and being persistent about it. If my partner and I don’t have a gendered role at home, I’m not going to accept it at work either. Who does what? The one who is better at it. Period. It’s not just men and women should be paid equally, it’s that equal jobs deserve equal pay. Even if I was good at tasks stereotyped as feminine, I shouldn’t have to take a pay hit for that.

    I’m honestly not more confident or aggressive than straight women. My Mother is more aggressive and confident than I am, but I can already match her pay because I’m in IT with 5 years experience and she’s in Administration with like 20 years of experience. Her boss just kind of thinks of her as a glorified secretary when actually she runs the whole office.

  35. Is it possible that this study also neglects that people lower down the economic chain are less likely to ex-closet due to various social pressures?

  36. Pregnancy leave costs companies a lot of money. This is one of the reasons women are discriminated against in the workplace.

    Lesbians suffer less from this, as there is an expectation that they won’t have children.

    An employer is therefore more likely to give you a better job.

  37. Free anecdote!

    I am not lesbian, but I am happily childfree. I have worked in programming/engineering for 15 years and make far more than my husband does (he likes to keep going back for “one more degree” — which I pay for, we have NO student loans). I know many people but can only think of 2-3 woman friends who haven’t had one or more kids in those 15 years. Raising crotchfruit has a HUGE impact on income for women.

    Maybe they’re right.. I never expected my husband to make more than me, so I made it myself. However, it’s not because he can’t, or because he won’t. He has, for years at a time between schooling. We’ve developed this life of him learning/working and me working/learning and it works for us. And nooooo kids to drive to karate practice. :)

    1. I am not lesbian, but I am happily childfree. I have worked in programming/engineering for 15 years and make far more than my husband does

      Similar situation in our family.

      Reminds me, too of the obligatory Dilbert strip for discussing gender-based income disparity.

  38. There has been plenty of data showing that males with higher level of testosterone make more money than that of other males.

    Lesbians have brain anatomy more like that of males likely secondary to in utero exposure to testosterone and it’s affect on the development of brain.

    Lesbians likely on the whole are simply more aggressive than their straight counterpart and there for make more money.

    1. Are you out of your mind? Where do you people get this stuff? See grrlRomeo’s comments above. The heteronormative bias is incredible in this responses. There has never been any conclusive physical evidence of what “causes” homosexuality — that’s why this debate goes on and on and on.
      Fact is, just as some people prefer the beach to the forest and others like the city rather than the country, some people prefer same-sex relationships.
      As to the study, it did not compare single lesbians with married women. My experience is that married women in the workforce make more than single lesbians or bisexual women due to increased social connections, i.e., schools, churches, country clubs, etc.

      1. but when looking at all the data your experience doesn’t apply and is not the trend. Animal studies on hormone and sexuality is not heteronormative biased in fact it’s based on science. We all like to think of ourselves as agents but all of our experience and choice are based on biology.

  39. Perhaps the lesbian is perceived by the employer as being more likely to make, and win, a sexual bias suit and by paying higher wages the employer is hoping to avoid this.

  40. I wonder if there is a factor in the fact that women with lesser education/coming from a working-class background, who do earn less, may be more likely due to conservative beliefs/values to not openly identify as lesbians.

  41. People. The study was CONTROLLED for how many children the women had. It’s not that!

    (sooo tired of this trope being used as an explanation for discrimination)

    I think it’s more likely to be what GrrrlRomeo said: “Lesbians are just more accustomed to breaking down and rejecting gender stereotypes and being persistent about it. If my partner and I don’t have a gendered role at home, I’m not going to accept it at work either.”(sorry, don’t know how to quote — html?)

    There could certainly be additional explanations though. And it’s not like I have much experience with either being a lesbian or being in the workforce, so my opinion may not count for much on this issue.

  42. Perhaps lesbians have more positive interactions with other women. Many women have this “I’m not like other women” or “other women just don’t like me” thing that holds them back. Women are used to being treated better by men than women and think that women don’t like them when really other women are acting normal and the men are treating them better (theory: Pretty Girl Land)

    Based on the other commentors above about lesbians having more male comradary and my guess that lesbians tend to treat other women better than straight women treat other women… Lesbians likely have the benefit of the old boys network and the old girls network, while many straight women have neither. If a straight women has alienated other women to get in with the men, she is likely not completely accepted to the old boy’s club and excused her self from the old girls network.

  43. I take risks, while my girlier friends don’t.

    When I had a job, I stuck my neck out and asked for good projects while the other women waited to be appointed. I asked for more money and when I didn’t get it, I quit and started my own business.

    I have finger lengths that supposedly suggest higher exposure to testosterone in the womb. Maybe that explains my comfort with taking risks.

    Although I’m androgynous, I’m more straight than not. It would be interesting to see research that looked at testosterone markers and not just sexual orientation.

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