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About two months ago, Dr. Elizabeth Stier was shocked to learn that she would lose a vital credential, board certification as a gynecologist, unless she gave up an important part of her medical practice and her research: taking care of men at high risk for anal cancer.

The disease is rare, but it can be fatal and its incidence is increasing, especially among men and women infected with H.I.V. Like cervical cancer, anal cancer is usually caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which is sexually transmitted.

Though most of her patients are women, Dr. Stier, who works at Boston Medical Center, also treated about 110 men last year, using techniques adapted from those developed to screen women for cervical cancer.

But in September, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology insisted that its members treat only women, with few exceptions, and identified the procedure in which Dr. Stier has expertise as one that gynecologists are not allowed to perform on men. Doctors cannot ignore such directives from a specialty board, because most need certification to keep their jobs.

Now Dr. Stier’s studies are in limbo, her research colleagues are irate, and her male patients are distraught. Other gynecologists who had translated their skills to help male patients are in similar straits.

And researchers about to start a major clinical trial that is aimed at preventing anal cancer, with $5.6 million from the National Cancer Institute, say the board’s decision will keep some of the best qualified, most highly skilled doctors in the United States from treating male patients in the study. The director of the planned study and Dr. Stier have asked the gynecology board to reconsider its position.

But the board, based in Dallas, has not budged.

Anoscopy and other techniques aimed at preventing anal cancer have not been rigorously tested, and the purpose of the planned clinical trial is to determine whether they work. Five thousand patients, men and women, are to be studied for eight years, ultimately costing tens of millions of dollars.

If the trial shows that cancers can be prevented, it could change the standard of care, Dr. Douglas R. Lowy, a deputy director of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute, said in an interview.

Doctors planning to participate in the trial have had extensive training in high-resolution anoscopy. People with various types of medical training can learn the procedure, but experts say that gynecologists are the quickest to master it because of their experience in screening women.

“We need as many trained people as possible,” said Dr. Joel Palefsky, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, who will direct the study. “The assumption all along has been that many of the gynecologists we trained would participate in the study and would see both men and women.”

Dr. Stier had been treating men for more than 10 years, and expected to enroll about 100 in the study. Now, she will be able to enroll only women. She is the only person with the special training at her hospital, so now another hospital will have to sign up more men.

But what really worries her is what will become of the men she has been treating. Those who had precancers need to be examined once or twice a year, because the growths tend to recur. Dr. Stier said the procedures are embarrassing and uncomfortable for patients, and it takes time for a doctor to gain their trust. Many of her patients are poor, from minority groups and infected with H.I.V. Some live in shelters, some have histories of drug use. And anal disorders add more stigma. “My main issue here is that I don’t think my patients are going to get the follow-up that they need, and I think they’re going to be lost to care, and we take care of a very vulnerable patient population,” Dr. Stier said.

Dr. Einstein had also been treating some male patients and had planned to enroll men in the new trial. Like Dr. Stier, he was blindsided by the gynecology board’s notice.

He said only three doctors at his hospital had special training in high-resolution anoscopy, and that was nowhere near enough. Now two of those doctors, including himself, have to stop treating men.

“I think we’ll see significant setbacks,” Dr. Einstein said.

“We haven’t heard of any compelling reason to change anything,” said Dr. Kenneth L. Noller, the board’s director of evaluation. He said there were plenty of other doctors available to provide the HPV-related procedures that some gynecologists had been performing on men.

Dr. Larry C. Gilstrap, the group’s executive director, said the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology was specifically designed to treat problems of the female reproductive tract and was “restricted to taking care of women.” Of the 24 medical specialties recognized in the United States, he said, it is the only one that is gender-specific, and it has been that way since 1935.

Dr. Stier said that she, like many other doctors, had not understood the definition of their field to be quite so absolute.

The board had always regarded the treatment of women as its mission, Dr. Gilstrap said, but felt a particular need to emphasize it now because the specialty’s image was being tarnished by members who had strayed into moneymaking sidelines, like testosterone therapy for men, and liposuction and other cosmetic procedures for both women and men.

Dr. Mark H. Einstein, a gynecologic oncologist at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, said, “The board’s approach is to be rather dogmatic and to draw a line in the sand.”

On Sept. 12, the board posted on its website a stringent and newly explicit definition of obstetrician-gynecologists, limiting the proportion of time they could spend on nongynecologic procedures and noting that, with few exceptions, members must not treat men. The notice specifically prohibited gynecologists from performing an examination called anoscopy on men.

Anoscopy involves using a tube and a light to examine the anal canal, which is about 1.5 inches long. The procedure is the same in men and women. A “high-resolution” version adds a magnifier to look for abnormal growths that may be cancers or precancers. Cancers usually require surgery, but doctors can burn off precancers in hopes of preventing cancer.

A similar approach led to a tremendous decline in cervical cancer in the United States, and doctors hope to accomplish the same for anal cancer. About 7,000 new cases of anal cancer, and 880 deaths, are expected in 2013 in the United States; the incidence has been increasing by 2.2 percent a year for the last 10 years.


High-profile mayoral elections this year have already proved that the steps to City Hall remain steep for female candidates.

Only one of the nation’s 10 largest cities is run by a woman: Annise Parker of Houston, who faces re-election in November. Just 12 of the 100 largest cities have women in the top job, including Fort Worth, Baltimore and Las Vegas.

This year has seen two notable candidates falling short: Democrats Wendy Greuel in Los Angeles, who made it to a runoff and then lost, and Christine Quinn in New York, who was considered the front-runner for months only to come in third in a Sept. 10 primary.

Next week, Boston voters have a chance:  Charlotte Golar Richie is one of a dozen candidates for mayor in the non-partisan preliminary election Sept. 24.

The political group EMILY’s List — which raises money for female candidates — has endorsed women running for mayor this year in 10 cities, including Minneapolis; Dayton, Ohio; and Tacoma, Wash. But three are now sidelined, including Anita Lopez, who did not make a runoff in Toledo, Ohio.

“To be the chief executive, to be the person where the buck stops, that’s that kind of last hurdle for women in elective office,” says Debbie Walsh of Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics — who points out that big-city mayors wield considerably more power than individual members of Congress. “When you get to those really big cities where when you’re the chief executive you’re overseeing millions and millions of dollars in jobs and a big law enforcement presence, that’s where it seems to be a bit stalled out.”

In smaller cities, women do better. About 17.4% of all city mayors are women, about on par with the U.S. House of Representatives. And the U.S. Senate now has 20 women, an all-time high.

It could be that voters have more trouble seeing women as executives than as legislators, where collaboration, a traditionally female attribute, is more prized. Currently five of 50 governorships are held by women, and there are 24 states that have never had a female governor, according to counts kept by the Center for American Women and Politics.

Though New Jersey Democrat Barbara Buono faces long odds to unseat Gov. Chris Christie in November,  things could change in 2014, Walsh says, when 36 states elect governors and women have already announced candidacies in New Mexico, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Jennifer Lawless, director of American University’s Women and Politics Institute, says studies show that voters aren’t reluctant to elect women to executive office.  But not enough women run, she says. “The issue isn’t that they don’t have the credentials or the background anymore. The issue is that that’s not sufficient to get them to run for office.”

The difficulty of women winning executive branch jobs  “is  something we want to look at and understand better,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock says. For the group, which was formed to get women elected to Congress, spending on candidates in municipal elections means navigating a welter of state and local election finance regulations, she says. “These are tough glass ceilings for us to break.”

In New York, Quinn’s loss revived a longstanding argument about whether female candidates are judged more harshly than men on their clothes and demeanor, fueled by the comment of Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis, who said, “If I have to listen to that voice for four years, I’ll die.” The New York Times reported after her loss that a team of seasoned political women had suggested Quinn pay attention to whether she was coming across as likable enough, and that opinion poll respondents described her, unfavorably, as “ambitious” and “bossy.”

“Nobody who runs for mayor of New York is not ambitious,” Walsh says. “But to be called that as a woman, that is framed as a negative.”

Having a female mayor is a barrier that, once broken, appears to stay that way. While Chicago hasn’t elected a woman since Jane Byrne in 1979, San Diego and Dallas have had three women serve as mayors, and San Jose and Houston have had two.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is the second woman to be mayor of Baltimore, winning election in 2011 after being appointed to replace Sheila Dixon a year earlier.

“I think that’s sometimes what it takes. You have to be able to see someone in that position,” she says. “Think about what it took when people were wrapping their minds around having a black president. It went from ‘Ain’t no way, never going to happen,’ to now people don’t give it a second thought.”

Martha T. Moore, USA TODAY


A report found that white working-class British boys are falling further behind other groups of children at GCSE, despite a string of initiatives designed to boost the performance of disadvantaged pupils.

The Centre for Social Justice, which was set up by Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith after he quit as Tory leader, found that over the period 2007-2012 the gap in performance between poor white boys and the average for all pupils widened.

White British boys receiving free school meals – a measure of classroom disadvantage – were performing much worse than other deprived groups of pupils.

Only 26 per cent of white British boys on free school meals gained five A*-C GCSE grades, including English and Maths, last year, compared with 40 per cent of black boys and 63 per cent of all other pupils on free school meals.

Christian Guy, the centre’s director, said: “These figures are sobering. They suggest that despite much money and effort white working-class boys are in danger of becoming an educational underclass.

“They are falling further behind other disadvantaged groups and they lag far behind the majority of pupils. We need to take a close look at the reasons behind this growing inequality and reassess the measures we are taking to close the performance gap.”

The report found serious problems among some children starting school, with some four year olds starting primary school in nappies.

The study also heard of cases where pupils were going to their first day already strides behind their counterparts.

The report, called Requires Improvement, has been drawn up by a working group of educational experts chaired by Sir Robin Bosher of the Harris Federation of Academies and a former primary school head teacher.

Sir Robin said he has come across some children at four-years-old who are developmentally nearer to two when they start school and therefore require a lot of help if they are to catch up.

He added: “I see about 10 per cent in each class who are so unsociable that they hurt others, adults and other young children. But they’re unsociable because they’ve no practice at being sociable.”

Presently children are not formally assessed until the end of the academic year they turn five, but at this stage many were found to be well behind their peers.

The report said that six per cent of boys did not know that print is read from left to right and top to bottom by the end of their first year.

Sir Robin added: “Educational failure is too common in our current system. It affects disadvantaged children and makes reform urgent. This is about social justice. We need to do more to make sure all children are given a good education.”

The report comes after the Government said that teenagers who fail to score good grades in their English and maths GCSEs must continue studying the subjects.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “This government is taking decisive action to support disadvantaged pupils and close the unacceptable attainment gap between them and their peers.

“We are increasing the Pupil Premium to £2.5 billion a year and doubling the number of disadvantaged two year olds eligible for free nursery places to 260,000.

“We’ve turned round more failing schools than ever before and are setting up new free schools to give all parents, not just the rich, the choice of a good school.

“From this week all pupils will study English and Maths to 18 if they don’t achieve a C at GCSE — meaning thousands more young people will have the chance to leave school, college or training with a good grasp of these vital subjects.”

Christopher Hope Christopher Hope at the Telegraph UK


The vast majority of Americans, regardless of gender, are never going to serve on a Fortune 500 company’s board of directors. Consequently the gross gender imbalance in board seats is not necessarily something that the woman on the street spends a lot of time fuming about. Nonetheless, the imbalance is striking, and I think people ought to pay more attention to it.

fortune 500 board

The main reason is that here we have a field of American life where I think we can say pretty clearly that meritocracy is not an important factor. Nothing is ever purely about anything, but corporate boards in the United States are about as close as it gets to a pure case of privilege reproducing privilege. The key criteria for serving on a corporate board is to seem like the kind of person who would serve on a corporate board—which is to say a white man of a certain age. But there are no actual job qualifications or performance criteria for nonexecutive directors. So the CEO of the Washington Post Company (Slate‘s parent) is on the board of Facebook, and Al Gore is on the board of Apple, and a former high-level BMW executive is on the board of Microsoft. Yet if you want to put women on your board, this very same open-endedness makes it easy. Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, is also on the Microsoft board. And good for her.

Now my best guess is that women’s underrepresentation on boards doesn’t have huge practical consequences. There is some evidence that more diverse boards outperform less diverse ones, and probably some downstream gender-equity issues would get addressed better if firms had better gender equity on their boards.

But the lack of board diversity is important primarily because it’s a huge tell—and not because it has huge consequences. A company that can’t manage to have half its board seats filled with women simply isn’t trying. Which is to say that the vast majority of large American companies simply aren’t trying. And yet most of those countries would say they think diversity and gender equality are important. But given a fairly simple, straightforward, and low-consequence way of making a statement about gender equity, virtually no firms do it. Most other corporate staffing decisions are a good deal more complicated, and the barriers to gender inclusion may be more real or more robust. But when you see a corporate board that’s not even close to half women—and nine times out of 10 that’s what you’ll see—you shouldn’t trust any assurances you receive about anything else the company is doing.


A woman’s “greatest fear in life” is losing a man’s support, and they desire nothing more than to marry “a man who worships me and whom I worship.” At least, that’s what Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said in 1997 in a column published by the Harvard Crimson:

I have been asking women two questions. My first question was “What is your greatest fear in life?” Uniformity characterized the responses. (Yes, these are actual responses from Cliffies; I did not fabricate them.) “Watching my husband walk out on me.” “Losing my lover.” “Getting a divorce.”

My second question was very similar: “What is your deepest hope in life?” Again, the responses were uniform. “Finding and holding onto the love of my life.” “Being a good wife and mother.” “Marrying a man who worships me and whom I worship.”

Really?

My sample is admittedly small and perhaps unrepresentative. If it is representative-I tend to think it is-then maybe men can unlock the secret to a woman’s heart and soul.

“Cliffies” in this context refers to Radcliffe College, an elite women’s college that began to merge with Harvard in the 1960s.  So Cotton is claiming that women at one of the the most famous and selective universities in the world live in terror of someday finding themselves without a man.

The remainder of his column envisions a struggle between Christian right groups like the Promise Keepers, a men’s organization that rose to prominence in the 1990s, and “feminists,” who he criticizes for wanting the right to seek a divorce. As an alternative to this scourge of couples who have the legal right to end unhappy marriages, Cotton points to so-called “covenant marriage.”

Covenant marriage is an arrangement, originally proposed by former Louisiana state Rep. Tony Perkins (R), that allows couples to effectively sign away their right to a no-fault divorce. Couples who sign up for this relationship, Cotton explains, “can divorce only with fault, defined as abandonment, physical abuse, adultery or conviction of a capital crime.” So a couple that is merely miserable together must remain married. Forever.

In the sixteen years since Cotton wrote his column, covenant marriage hasn’t exactly taken off. Just three states, Louisiana, Arkansas and Arizona, have some form of covenant marriage law. In Perkins’ home state of Louisiana, fewer than 5 percent of couples opt for a covenant marriage. (Perkins now leads the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group which believes that gay people harm “society at large” and that unmarried people should be punished if they have sex.)

Yet, despite covenant marriage’s failure to thrive, Cotton viewed such efforts to force couples to remain together as America’s great hope. “Few men,” he wrote in 1997, see the danger presented by divorce — and “women are quite lucky to hook” one of these men. Ultimately, Cotton concluded, women must “defend these men against feminism.”


Recently scientist Laura Waters wrote a piece explaining “why I’m an equalist and not a feminist.” Molecular biologist and feminist Andrew Holding responds.

The world is against men. This week a man was turned away from Legoland for not having a child, apparently to protect the families and children that visit. Men are not allowed to sit next to unaccompanied children on planes because apparently they’re all paedophiles-in-waiting. I’ve had my own experience of someone alerting the whole of John Lewis that my daughter was abandoned, because she wasn’t near someone who looked like a mother. Then there’s the old issue that only 8% of children in single parent families are with their fathers. Perhaps all this contributes to high suicide rates in young men. So we need equality not feminism? I don’t agree.

When I was born, my father could rape my mother. Legally. The act was only criminalised in England in 1991. We’re less than 100 years since Emily Murphy fought to be recognised as a person because she didn’t have a penis, and still, in the 21st century, girls have been shot in the head for suggesting the radical thought that we should educate people with uteruses.

If you think feminism is a dirty word, or some kind of female ‘supremacist’ movement, you’ve been had. This slippery-slope sensationalism is the same old dirty trick we see when anti-equality campaigners make ridiculous arguments about marrying their sons in an effort to stop marriage equality, or suggest that giving all genders an equal chance in life is some how going to lead to the oppression of men. It’s ridiculous, and those who protest are typically those who have the most to lose from equality.

There are individuals who dislike men, in a hand-wavingly general sort of way, but that does nothing TO men on the whole. There is no power structure in place – and never has been – that causes men to be systematically disadvantaged compared to women. That is misogyny, the history and the culture and the actions of individuals that pile up to create a hostile environment to women in work, life and play, and in  a country where a woman’s attractiveness is still seen to be more important than her achievements it is impossible to miss.

So what about single fathers, young men committing suicide, or suggestions that every man is some kind of Schroedinger’s paedophile? The answer to these problems is more feminism.

Feminism fights patriarchy. It’s this system that is responsible for the fallacy that women need to be mothers in place of men; a lie that can cost fathers their children and women their lives. It places unreasonable expectations on young men, leaving them ill-equipped for the modern world and leading to an epidemic of mental health issues. It runs the entire country, and those that gain from it would prefer that women don’t stand together for their rights because they have so much to lose.

And feminism is pro-men. In discussion of rape and sexual assault, it is feminists who have challenged the myth that men are incited by short skirt, and the belief that the average man can barely stop his penis leaping from his trousers into the nearest woman.

We need a word because it provides focus, a banner to rally behind and, in the case of feminism, a history. Yes, equality is great, but we wouldn’t expect those fighting against racism or homophobia to drop their banner because a few people want to make it into something it’s not.  We all need, in the words of Geraldine Horan at Bright Club recently, to ‘grow a pair of ovaries’ and start calling ourselves feminists.

If you’re affected by issues around young men and mental health, CALM offer information and an advice line.

Andrew Holding (@AndrewHolding) is the father of two amazing children, who happen to have four X chromosomes between them.


After many weeks of silence, the Pritzker Architecture Prize officially rebuffed the call of a 17,000-signature petition late last week by refusing to recognize Denise Scott Brown as co-recipient of the 1991 Pritzker Prize. The award was conferred solely on her famous architect husband, Robert Venturi, despite the fact that they were not just partners in life, but also in every aspect of their work.

Two decades later, the “forgetting” of women in architecture is alive and well—both among this year’s nearly all-male Pritzker Prize jury, but also within the ranks of the actual architectural establishment in the United States, known as The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Starting today, more than 10,000 members of the AIA will gather in Denver, where the AIA board of directors went so far as to adjust the rules of its coveted Gold Medal earlier this week, to recognize teams like Scott Brown and Venturi (rather than only selecting individuals, as it has done to date). Such gestures, while commendable, overlook the AIA’s own tendency to exclude women, most overtly evidenced in this year’s all-male convention keynote roster and in other subtle ways.

Convention attendees will hear from Blake Mycoskie, the popular founder of TOMS Shoes; Gen. Colin Powell, the former U.S. Secretary of State; and Cameron Sinclair, charismatic co-founder (with Kate Stohr) of Architecture for Humanity. All three are men highly capable of inspiring others, but three men they remain. And lest you think this year was simply an anomaly, the 2010, 2011, and 2012 AIA Conventions all failed to count even a single woman among their keynote rosters.

What about community development leader Rosanne Haggerty, whose organization, Community Solutions, is championing a “100,000 Homes” campaign to end chronic homelessness nationwide? Or Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang, which is as well known for its Aqua Tower as its colorful community centers on Chicago’s south side? Or author, TED speaker, high school design/build instructor, and new documentary subject Emily Pilloton of Project H Design? Or Amanda Burden and Janette Sadik-Khan, who have bravely led the revitalization of New York City’s public spaces? A visionary client, an award-winning architect, an innovative educator, and prolific policymakers, these are among the most progressive design leaders of our time, reshaping our field and reimagining our world.

We can only hope that the AIA is on the brink of better recognizing women, with the third woman president in its 157-year history set to take the reins in 2014. That’s a lot of weight to put on one woman, however. Instead, the AIA and its overwhelmingly male members can start by taking a close look at who they hold up and celebrate.

The AIA can follow the lead of the Art Directors Club, a 90-year old organization, whose male executive director late last month kicked off a spirited campaign, passionately calling for a 50/50 ratio of women to men on award juries, boards of directors, and in event speaker lineups. These are simple measures at face value, but could positively disrupt the imbalance seen today across the creative industries, and architecture in particular.

Individual male architects, but also the three keynote speakers at the AIA Convention this year, can publicly decline to participate in forums where there is not at least minimal representation of women. It can also be done preemptively: A national Jewish community organization called Advancing Women Professionals has enlisted 60 influential male professionals—each pledging not to appear on public panels without women, with profound results.

To be sure, even high-profile thought leadership conferences like the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, and TED struggle to achieve gender parity among their speaker rosters. Speaker agencies, like the ones representing Mycoskie, Powell, and Sinclair, are estimated to be just twenty percent women. But none even approximate the complete void of women achieved by the AIA.

Forty-five years ago, around the time that Denise Scott Brown was entering practice, another AIA Convention keynote speaker famously said, “You are not a profession that has distinguished itself by your social and civic contributions to the cause of civil rights. You are most distinguished by your thunderous silence and your complete irrelevance.” These were the biting words of the late civil rights activist Whitney M. Young, Jr.

One has to wonder what real impact Young’s words have had over the past 45 years when you consider the composition and actions of the nearly all-male Pritzker Prize jury as well as the AIA leadership vacuum that has led to the selection of an all-male keynote roster for four years running.

“We are going to have to have people as committed to inclusiveness as we have in the past to exclusiveness,” Young went on to say in 1968. In a world still riddled with structural sexism, it’s going to take real work on the part of the AIA and the architecture profession at-large to shift from exclusion to inclusion—of women, people of color, diverse clients, and so many others missing from the profession today. And each of us has a role to play.


Hillary Clinton spoke Thursday about her “hypothetical” desire to see a woman president “in my lifetime,” the latest scrap of data fueling the  will-she-run-in-2016 chatter about the former senator and secretary of  state.

Clinton, whose language is always parsed for changes from speech to speech,  said at a Canadian speech, video of which was posted on YouTube, that such an  election would be important for the country.

“Let me say this, hypothetically speaking, I really do hope that we have a woman  president in my lifetime,” Clinton said in Toronto, before a women-centered  event Thursday. “And whether it’s next time or the next time after that, it  really depends on women stepping up and subjecting themselves to the political  process, which is very difficult.”

She added that President Barack Obama’s election was historic, and said, “I  hope that we will see a woman elected because I think it would send exactly the  right historic signal to girls, women as well as boys and men. And I will  certainly vote for the right woman to be president.”

It was a crowd that was receptive to such a message, even if she gave no hint  — beyond the playful “hypothetical” and “right woman” remarks — that she was  talking about herself.

hilary clinton

Friends and supporters of Clinton say she is genuinely undecided about  whether to run again, even if some of the moves she is making now, immersing  herself in domestic policy on issues affecting women and children that have been  the core of her life’s work, would certainly be helpful if she launches another  national campaign.

Yet that argument — the historic nature of a female president, combined with  a pent-up desire among women voters to break that barrier — is the one most  often espoused by Clinton backers.

Clinton spoke at the “Unique Lives and Experiences” conference. She was  interviewed by the head of a non-profit helping kids in war-torn areas.

“I think there is still truth to that, so you have to step up, you have to  dare to compete, you have to get into the process and then the country, our  country, has to take that leap of faith,” Clinton said, invoking fellow former  first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, as she often has over the years.


The real gap isn’t between men and women doing the same job. It’s between the different jobs that men and women take.

It might be the most famous statistic about female workers in the United States: Women earn “only 72 percent as much as their male counterparts.”

It’s also famously false. A new survey from PayScale this morning finds that the wage gap nearly evaporates when you control for occupation and experience among the most common jobs, especially among less experienced workers. It is only as careers advance, they found, that men outpaced female earnings as they made their way toward the executive suite.

So, women aren’t starting off behind their male counterparts, so much as they’re choosing different jobs and losing ground later in their careers.

The irony is that as women advance in their own careers, they might be more likely to fall behind, but they are also more likely to negotiate. That popular refrain that women don’t know how to ask for a raise? That’s bunk, too, the researchers concluded.  Nearly a third of women — and 29 percent of men — have asked for raises, and even more female executives have done the same. In female-dominated sectors like health care and education more, half of women have negotiated for salary, benefits, or a promotion .

Still, inequalities persist. Comparing men and women job-by-job conceals the fact that men still dominate many of the highest-paying jobs. PayScale studied more than 120 occupation categories, from “machinist” to “dietician.” Nine of the ten lowest-paying jobs (e.g.: child-care worker, library assistant) were disproportionately female. Nine of the ten highest-paying jobs (e.g.: software architect, psychiatrist) were majority male. Nurse anesthetist was the best-paid position held mostly by women; but an estimated 69 percent of better-paid anesthesiologists were male.

The highest-paid job in PayScale’s controlled set is anesthesiologists, who are 69 percent male and 31 percent female — creating a 38 percent percentage-point “jobs gap.” Here is the jobs gap for the ten highest-paid positions.

Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 4.41.59 PM

PayScale’s study is a necessary chaser to BLS and Census data, because the government “compares all weekly earnings, even though women and men do different things,” said PayScale chief economist Katie Bardaro. “We’re trying to compare men and women with the same education, same management responsibilities, similar employers, in companies with a similar number of employees.” After controlling for these factors, “the gender wage gap disappears for most positions,” she said.

In one job, they had enough data to show a statistically significant wage advantage for female workers. That is “dental hygienist.”

But even if the gender gap disappears after controlling for experience and job selection, it’s hard to imagine that men thoroughly dominating the highest-paying positions is a good outcome. For example, the expectation that women more than men bear the responsibility to raise children gently nudges thousands of highly educated women out of full-time work.

There is a wage difference. But it might not be the wage difference that you thought. The real gap isn’t between men and women doing the same job. The real gap is between men and women doing different jobs and following different careers.

That gap should continue to tighten. Women have earned the majority of bachelor’s degrees for the last few years. They’re well-positioned to benefit from a growing professional service economy, and working moms are already the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households with kids, an all-time high. But if women are more likely to go into health care than manufacturing, more likely to work in human resources than software, and more likely to leave their careers early to start a family, the gaps will persist.

Ideally, some day soon, it won’t take a statistical “control” to show that men and women are fundamental equal partners — and equal competitors — in the work force. It will just be the obvious truth.

  Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees business coverage for TheAtlantic.com.