Harvard professor Claudia Goldin has achieved a phenomenal milestone by becoming the third woman in history to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. Her groundbreaking research on women in the workplace earned her this prestigious honour, following the footsteps of Elinor Ostrom in 2009 and Esther Duflo in 2019.Research on Womens Income Pay GapThe Nobel Prize committee recognised Goldin for her invaluable contributions to our understanding of women's labour market outcomes. Goldin's research, which spans over 200 years of U.S. labour data, has dispelled various myths surrounding the gender pay gap and women's participation in the workforce.In the United States, women currently earn approximately 82 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. Historically, Goldin's work attributed this gender pay gap to differences in education and occupational choices. However, her recent findings have shed new light on the issue. Goldin discovered that the primary earnings difference now exists when men and women hold the same occupation, with men consistently earning more. This indicates that education and career choices cannot solely account for the gender pay gap.(Image courtesy: Brian Snyder/Reuters)Focus on Womens Career InterruptionsInstead, Goldin's research suggests that motherhood plays a pivotal role in this disparity. One of her studies focused on MBA students revealed that men significantly outearn their female peers a decade after graduation from business school. This earnings gap is predominantly tied to women's career interruptions and reduced weekly work hours, often associated with childbirth.Even when mothers who previously reduced their work hours transition back to full-time employment, they struggle to catch up to their male counterparts. Goldin has poetically likened parenthood to a challenging climb, where mothers slow down, reduce their work hours, and occasionally leave the workforce or opt for less time-intensive jobs. While there is a moment when childcare demands decrease, allowing women to increase their paid work hours and take on more significant career challenges, they never quite reach the elusive valley of gender equality.(Illustration courtesy: Niklas Elmehed)Power of the PillFurthermore, Goldin's work highlights the power of the pill in advancing women's careers. She provided persuasive evidence that the availability of contraceptives led to delayed marriage and increased enrollment in professional degree programs among women.Another critical aspect of Goldin's research addresses sex bias in the gender pay gap. One notable study focused on symphony orchestras and their adoption of blind auditions, where the musician's identity is concealed. This simple change resulted in the hiring of more women, emphasising the role of bias in perpetuating pay disparities.(Image Courtesy: Joey Huang)Goldin's own journey through academia exposed her to the challenges women encounter in the workplace. In 1990, she made history by becoming the first woman to gain tenure within Harvard's economics department. Despite this achievement, the field of economics remains predominantly male-dominated, with only a small percentage of female faculty members at Harvard.