[…] According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research , women’s median weekly wages for full-time work were 81 percent of men’s in 2012. Female entrepreneurs who graduated from the Goldman program had entered it with average salaries that were 80 percent those of their male counterparts.

The result came as a surprise to the author of the study, Patricia Greene , a Babson professor. “That wasn’t even a number we were looking for, so when we saw that, we thought, that’s interesting,” she said. Ms. Greene could not explain the disparity but said she planned to investigate it. “I’m not sure if it’s benchmarking against salaried women, I’m not sure if it’s a lack of confidence, I’m not sure if it’s negotiating themselves down first,” she said. “Sometimes women have a tendency to say: ‘I couldn’t possibly ask that. I’d better recalibrate that before I put that number out there.’”

Ariane Hegewisch, a study director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, noted that there was “quite a pronounced gender segregation” in the types of businesses men and women operate. The Babson finding “could be a reflection of the fact that women are more likely to start businesses in sectors with lower average revenue than men,” she said in an email.