Women’s Online Earnings Now Growing Almost 20% Faster Than Men

screenshot_1159So says Elance, one of many websites matching up employers and freelance workers. According to a survey of Elance users conducted by Elance, women’s earnings are growing 20 percent faster than their male counterparts.

It’s hard to tell exactly what they mean by that, or what we can conclude from it – it’s unclear whether that refers to gross earnings or earnings per job. Since jobs vary so much in size, it seems likely that they mean gross earnings, which might mean women are just landing and completing more jobs than men. If that’s true, it looks like women are catching on faster to the new model of career as online freelancer, which, warts and all, probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

A possible contributing factor Elance identified was a number that Sheryl Sandberg cited in Lean In – 43 percent of highly skilled women with children are opting for freelance work. The flexibility means that women can raise kids and work without sacrificing too much of either one.

The Elance survey also breaks down how many women are breaking into traditionally male parts of the tech industry through freelancing, rather than direct employment. Of course, the specters of unequal pay and traditional male-dominated power structures still loom large, but it looks like freelancing might prove to be a factor in remedying both. After all, fair or not, people seem a lot more equal when they’re just names on a screen.

Elance Global Survey