There’s been much discussion in recent years about the gender wage gap: the idea that women are paid less than men in similar roles. If you have an opinion about the gender wage gap, it’s likely a strong one – you might be firmly on the “it exists” side or the “it’s a myth” side of the argument. However, some people do have opinions that land somewhere in the middle: the gap may exist, but perhaps not for the reasons that many believe.
To gain some clarity into this ongoing debate, we reached out to a panel of human resources professionals, business leaders, gender experts, employment attorneys, and other thought leaders to get their take by asking them to answer this question:
“Is the gender wage gap a myth or is it real?”
Meet Our Panel of HR Pros and Business Leaders:
Read on to learn what our experts have to say about the gender wage gap debate.
David Miklas is an attorney in Port St. Lucie, Florida who specializes in labor and employment law.
“It is pretty clear that there is a wage gap…”
What is unclear is what is the cause of this wage gap. While it is nice for soundbites to declare that gender discrimination is the cause, the evidence does not support this.
If the wage gap was caused by women and men doing the same job with the same experience and seniority, receiving different pay, that would be reflected by claims that the employer is violating the Equal Pay Act (EPA). However, the data simply does not support this. Even the EEOC’s annual data reflects that of all the charges of discrimination received by the EEOC, only about one percent are based on EPA claims.
One recent line of thinking is that women may have traditionally been funneled into certain, lower-paying jobs and their lower wages are perpetuated when they apply for a new job and they are asked what their prior salary/wage was. Because women have been paid less over time, the mere act of asking an applicant about their past pay, may very well result in a woman being offered less pay for a vacant position, even if she is selected.
Sophie Miles is CEO of QuotesAdvisor.com in USA, Canada, and South Africa.
“I do not want to talk about indicators or technicalities…”
Because if we were going to talk about it, we would also have to discuss the GDP, poverty, and other instruments of the economy. However, I can say that the difference between what men and women earn should be a myth but it is a reality.
Based on my own experience of the last 14 years and having participated in four different company boards, I can assure there are still many seats that must be conquered by women. Various of them are the top management positions that today are still leading by men. In fact, women made up only 16.3% of CEO positions in 2015-2016. Women growth to top management positions is increasing but at a slower rate.
The evidence of positive results from having women represented in companies is already strong enough to be taken seriously. Moreover, if we gradually start to take action it will not be long before we realize that having women is healthy for our workspace, healthy for our business, and healthy for our companies.
Nevertheless, someone can say it is no more than a feminist argument. According to an study carried out by Dezsö and Ross in 1,500 U.S. ﬁrms in the S&P: a given firm generates on average 1% (or over $40 million) more economic value with at least one woman on its top management team than without any women on its top management team and also enjoys superior accounting performance. Their results suggest that firms should maintain at least some level of gender diversity in their company boards and top management positions.
Facing that truth, we must think about women and gender equality, as a necessary and essential resource for the company. We need a refreshing recruitment and retention efforts, including by proposing temporary special measure to assist and support managers as well as by suggesting the use of modern executive search functions and senior talent inventories.
Priority should be given to developing staff talent through mentoring opportunities, training programs, talent management pilot initiatives, and the use of induction processes. It not only has to do with a decent salary and paid maternity leaves. It should aims to brace the company’s working environment by proposing programs on eliminating unconscious bias, flexible work arrangements, revised parental leave policies, and improved workplace.
Robin Schwartz, PHR
Robin Schwartz is the Managing Partner and Content Writer for MFG Jobs.
“The gender wage gap is real…”
But not necessarily in the way it’s often communicated. What skews the wage gap is the difference in professions between men and women. In many countries, male-dominated professions continue to be the higher paid professions while lower paying professions with less advancement continue to be dominated by women. The wage gap isn’t just about a man being paid more than a women for the same job, it’s about ensuring women are given equal opportunity and motivation to excel in higher paying career fields.
Regina Carbonell is a Gender Equality and LGBTQIA inclusion corporate consultant.
“It is well known by any authority in this area that…”
We lack unbiased information to confirm that the gender gap is a global fact. Anyway though, not only due to new studies biased towards ending the potential gender wage gap in specific areas but to the fight that many women take in their daily lives to claim equality, we find that the gap existed and we have started our way to end it in the last few years.
Richard D Quinn
Richard Quinn is a Retired Vice-President of Compensation and Benefits. He has 50 years of experience designing and managing pension, 401k, and other benefit plans for a Fortune 200 company. He also designed and conducted retirement planning courses and published over 250 articles on related subjects.
“Of course the wage gap is real, but the idea it results from outright sex discrimination in setting pay levels is a myth…”
There are scores of federal and state laws on the books and have been for years to prevent that and where it is allowed to occur today means some enforcement agency is not doing its job. The existing gap exists because of many well known factors which reflect the differences in working factors between men and women. That is unlikely to change in the near term and ignoring those factors leads to misdiagnosing the problem and seeking inappropriate cures.
Once pay is set upon entering a job, thereafter pay must be based on results achieved and the skills brought to the job. In other words, performance.
Billie Jean Bateson
Billie Jean Bateson is a fashionista and loves fashion marketing. Billie’s career started in 2011 as an online marketing analyst, blogger & fashion expert at Amazing Wristbands.
“The gender wage gap is an unacceptable truth which happens in most places and even all over the world…”
From hospitals to management levels, everywhere we can see such gaps. The majority of the doctors will be men, and women being nurses. Companies usually prefer male employees than female; listed below are some reasons to get a clear understanding of the above-mentioned point:
- Women always have things to take care of, namely their family, kids, cooking, and household things. Hence, they won’t be able to stay late hours for office work.
- Women are not flexible for shifts.
- The bitter fact is that women workers lack the unionization in the office environment when compared to men.
- Some people say that the pay gap is because men are more talented and dedicated than women.
For those who have undergone such gender pay gap in their career, the points mentioned here will be familiar. It is a tired argument to keep on hearing that the gender pay gap is a myth. People who deny it are very likely the men and women hating men who are benefiting because of the pay gap. To be precise, the gender gap is actually real with no predicted starting point.
Marina Shumaiev is the Co-founder & CTO at CruiseBe, Inc., the experienced programmer, tech lead, and travel enthusiast. She has Master’s degree in Computer Science and three years of experience as certified SAP Consultant.
“The gender gap is said to be the biggest in tech…”
Female engineers and leaders have started speaking on the issue to protect their rights, sustainability, efficiency, and proficiency. And every issue and particular situation is different. Of course, when working in the big tech company, you can face a certain wage gap, but in my point of view, if you’re a hard working person with high-quality skills, you should be treated equally. The other question is if you are going to have time to combine career and personal (family life). But this is a private business for every woman requiring proper prioritization of tasks and goals. In my case, I’m rather lucky to have launched a travel tech startup, CruiseBe Inc, together with my husband. That’s why it is easier to combine personal and business life.
Emmanuel C Nwaodua
Emmanuel C Nwaodua is a researcher and content writer at heart. He has an advanced degree in geology, but researching and writing on various topics of interest have always been his passion. In addition to writing, he also loves to learn new things and educate whenever he can.
“In today’s society, there are still some who do not believe that men are paid more than their female counterparts…”
This is because these skeptics, based on their perspectives on the gender gap situation, are attributing the disparity in earnings to the less/lack of education or experience on the part of feminine counterparts. But according to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) (a.k.a. The General Accounting Office), the majority of the reasons for the pay gap could not be accounted for by the above-listed variables, but were attributed to discrimination, in this case, based on sex. This discrimination over a working lifetime has resulted in the loss of significant wages, also affecting pensions and social security.
On the average, according to the Census Bureau, women generally earn about 80 cents on the dollar to men. Put in a better perspective, a 20-cent wage difference sums up to a loss of about $10,000 per year median salary, and over a working lifetime, between $700,000 and $2 million. The wage gap varies based on job sector, job caliber/paycheck size, and ethnicity (e.g., Hispanic and black women are hit the hardest).
But who is going to believe or take all of these facts about wage gap seriously if organizations, countries, and people that matter/opinion leaders are not talking or doing anything about it?
Well, they seriously are. For example, an organization, National Committee On Pay Equity (NCPE), which comprises civil right organizations, labor unions, religious, professionals, legal associations, and women of caliber are at the forefront of the battle to bridge the pay gap between men and women. One of the ways that the organization has gone about it was to set up a Tuesday in April as a symbolic day to remind everyone of how much longer full-time working women need to work to earn the same pay that men earned the year before. And so far, the organization has been influential in the reduction of the pay gap, which went from 59 cents in 1963, when the equal pay act was signed, to the current 80 cents on the dollar.
If the gender gap was a myth, as perceived in some schools of thought, why would these people who probably have a lot on their plates be so bent on doing something about it? Maybe because they have nothing better to do with their time!
If at this juncture, this does not convince anyone of the reality and seriousness of the pay gap situation, then keep reading to learn about what is happening in Iceland.
The country Iceland in January of 2018 passed and enforced a law which makes it illegal for women to be paid less than men. The country is the first in the world to blaze the trail with such a feat. According to the law, companies with more than 25 employees are expected to secure a government equal-pay-policy certificate. But to get the certificate, these companies have to first prove that their females employee are paid equally to their male counterparts. Failure to provide the proof for the certificate would result in a fine.
It wouldn’t be logical if anyone would think a whole country would want to make an ass of themselves by indulging in such a myth? Let’s not stop here, as there are more pieces of evidence to back the reality of the wage gap, like comments and actions from notable figures and celebrities.
- President Obama: “I’m here to say we will close the wage gap.”
- Venus Williams: “I think in the Grand Slam events, it should be equal pay, and I think the ladies should do something about it instead of just accepting it for years to come.”
- Ivanka Trump: “#EqualPayDay is a reminder that women deserve equal pay for equal work. We must work to close the gender pay gap!”
- Hilary Clinton: “The gender wage gap is even wider for women of color. It’s time to ensure equal pay.”
- Oprah Winfrey threatened to go on strike if her female producers were not paid appropriately.
If these informed and respected people, organizations, and countries who see the seriousness of the pay gap are willing to talk about it and also do something about it, then why would anyone still believe the pay gap to be a myth?
Rob Drury is the Executive Director at the Association of Christian Financial Advisors.
“While it may be fair to suggest that wage equality matters…”
The reality is that wage inequality, by and large, does not exist. The alleged wage gap between men and women has been conclusively proven to be virtually nonexistent. According to feminist author and activist Christina Hoff Sommers, the commonly stated wage gap figures do not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week. When such relevant figures are considered, the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.
According to a 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics (yep; this is the Obama administration) study, among full-time salaried persons working 40 hours or more per week, women who had never married or had children make approximately 96 cents to every man’s dollar. About women choosing family over career for a period, Sommers goes on to say that American women are among the best informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning, to boot. Bottom line: If you place your career objectives ahead of other life goals, as men predominantly do, you can easily expect to get paid as much as a man doing the same job. If you choose differently, that’s on you. And if you do choose differently, that’s great too; just expect it to be reflected in your income. This is a personal choice; not a problem.
Roslyn Dawson Thompson
Roslyn Dawson Thompson is the President and CEO of Dallas Women’s Foundation.
“The gender wage gap is real…”
If you take men and women in comparable jobs working comparable hours, women are paid less than men. Nationally, women make 80 cents for every dollar men make. In Texas, we just released a study (The Economic Status of Women in Texas and The Economic Status of Women in Collin, Dallas and Denton Counties, produced in collaboration with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research) concluding that women make 79.6 cents on the dollar compared with similarly employed men.
That means, if trends continue, Texas women will not achieve equal pay until 2049. If Texas women were paid the same as men, their average annual earnings would be $7,300 higher, and their poverty rate would be reduced by 51 percent.
In comparison with the other U.S. states, Texas receives a C- for women’s employment and earnings, and a D for women’s poverty and opportunity, grades that decreased and remained the same, respectively, since the 2004 study was conducted.
Interestingly, the gender wage gap crosses all ages, education, races and ethnicities in virtually every industry and sector. Research shows that 62% of the wage gap results from expected factors like education, choice of profession, parental status, marital status and time out of the workplace. However, the remaining 38% of the gap is unexplained, and could be the result of ingrained cultural discrimination or implicit bias.
Another measure of gender wage gap is Equal Pay Day, which demonstrates how much longer into the next year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous calendar year. For 2018, it’s April 10. For mothers, compared to dads, it’s May 30. Even more sobering is the dramatic gap when a racial and ethnic lens is applied: Equal Pay Day for African American women is August 7, and for Latina women, it is November 1. Given current trends, and without intentional efforts to advance pay equity, it is unlikely that we will see much improvement in these dates for 2019.
Nate Masterson is the Financial Manager for Maple Holistics, a company dedicated to all-natural and cruelty-free personal care. Backed by an education in Finance, Nate has been able to pursue both his professional and leisurely passions by working with Maple Holistics on becoming a leader in e-commerce.
“In 1963, President JFK signed a bill into law which made it illegal to have gender-based wage discrimination…”
The data shows that the gender wage gap is a lot different than the media would like you to think. In fact, many studies, including one done by Time Magazine, found that the median full-time salaries of young women are almost 10% higher than those of the men in their peer group in all but three of the 150 biggest cities in America.
According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, this discrepancy might be due to the fact that three women graduate college or get a higher degree for every two men. Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that while women only earn between 80-83% compared to men, this doesn’t take into account job skills, responsibilities, experience, and specialization.
Oddly enough, studies have found that women out-earn men in over a dozen male-dominated professions such as construction supervision and vehicle mechanics. While research corroborates the fact being in the minority pays better, women also do better than men in several female-dominated careers including healthcare and education positions.
Syed Irfan Ajmal
Syed Irfan Ajmal is a Growth Marketing Manager at Ridester.com, and he often has to hire marketing, design, and content professionals to be a part of his team. He also writes for Forbes, the World Bank, and more, and speaks locally and internationally from time to time.
“In relation to whether the gender wage gap is a myth…”
1. One of the best employees I ever hired was a female and she did work really well.
Even right now I am working with a female copywriter, and I don’t remember paying any of my male freelancers/coworkers that much for the same kind of work.
2. I was subcontracting some work to a marketing agency and the owner is a female. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she was able to negotiate very well (in a reasonable manner) and get a good price for her company. This wouldn’t have been possible if she was not able to communicate the worth of the value she was offering, either.
3. On the other end of the spectrum, some females (and males) may be not offering enough value but will be demanding the world for it. This comes across as bad and it shows them as being out of touch with the reality.
4. This, however, doesn’t mean that some (or many) females are not exploited. I think the exploitation does exist and there are a few ways females can help ensure that they are not a target of it:
- To be more confident of their true worth and value to the company
- To voice their opinion and not be ashamed of demanding more if they feel what they are being offered is not at par with the male employees of the company
- To continue being aware of the going rates of professionals in the same market so they can be well aware of their worth
- To also study negotiation tactics (there are a good few books on the subject, and there must be some podcasts available as well)
Jesse Harrison is the founder and CEO of the Employee Justice Legal Team, an employment law firm practicing in the area of labor law, including discrimination and wrongful termination.
“The gender wage gap is purported to exist at a discrepancy of around 25% – that is, that women earn on average $0.76 for every man’s $1.00…”
In short, the wage gap exists, but it isn’t because of gender; that is, women do not generally earn less than men because they are women. There are dozens of reasons, such as agreeableness, stubbornness, tenacity, age, and more.
Let’s consider agreeableness. People who are agreeable and do not like to be confrontational or assertive tend to earn less than those who are upfront and bold. Those who make a stand will often ask for raises and be willing to negotiate or browse other options for work. They are prepared to take a large risk, and it can pay off when compared with the actions of a worker who is content to not pursue promotions. In nature and in society, women are more agreeable than men, which leads to the pay gap between the genders increasing.
Instead of blaming gender, we should consider that there are many other factors that determine why people are paid the amounts they are.
I’ll give you an example. I had two employees, a man and a woman, start working at our law firm some time ago. They began work as paralegals, and both helped me prepare dozens of cases for court. They were adept at their jobs, but the man expressed a desire to work his way through law school and eventually join or start a law firm to help represent victims of car accidents, as he was personally affected by a car crash when he was younger. The woman, on the other hand, was content with completing her job duties. She was an excellent employee and we never had any problems with her work ethic or personality.
However, the man eventually approached me with a request for a raise, saying that he felt his work was more than adequate. He also believed that he would be able to handle more responsibilities since it would be good training and contribute to his goals. I decided to give him the raise that he asked for and increased his workload accordingly, which wasn’t a problem – he was able to complete everything with as much accuracy and skill as he did before.
His raise increased the pay gap between men and women in the office, but he didn’t get paid more because he was a man – he got paid more because he took initiative and impressed me and our partners with his work, and felt he knew his worth. There was no reason for us to deny him a raise. Had the situation been reversed, I would have acted the same way with the woman – which has happened before, with female employees requesting higher wages because of their output and because they want to eventually reach a certain point within the company.
Abbey Brown is a 24 year old Head of Marketing who manages an in-house marketing team by day, and manages a food and fitness blog by night.
“I think the gender wage gap is very much real – but not everywhere, and not in every business…”
I think it’s symptomatic of an out-of-date way of thinking, so for job seekers the likelihood of it being a problem really depends on the kind of business they’re applying to. And the industry that business is in, too – some move slower than others. Some are also very male dominated and that skews the figures (like software development).
I personally happen to be part of a very female dominant management team – our CEO, MD, Head of Finance, and Head of HR are all women. That actually swings our pay gap slightly the other way. But it wasn’t by design; it was just a product of choosing the right person for the job. However, I’m aware that just because I’m not experiencing it does not mean it is not real. Times are changing, but slowly.
Brynne Conroy is a personal finance writer and creator of the Women’s Finance site, Femme Frugality. She is also author of the upcoming book, ‘The Feminist Financial Handbook,’ which will hit shelves in Fall 2018.
“I’m not quite sure how one would argue the gender pay gap does not exist…”
Something doesn’t have to be measurable to be real, but once we can measure something, it’s compulsory to accept it as a part of reality.
According to the American Association of University Women’s Spring 2018 report, which draws upon data gathered from the US Census Bureau, US Department of Education and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, white women earn 79 cents per every dollar a white man earns. When compared to white men, Asian women earn 87 cents, Black women earn 63 cents, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islander Women earn 59 cents, American Indian and Alaska Native women earn 57 cents and Hispanic or Latina women earn 54 cents.
Not only is there a gender wage gap, but this gap demonstrates the intersectionality of oppression beyond sex and into race and/or ethnicity.
It is true that women are encouraged to gear their studies towards lower paying fields. This does partially contribute to the wage gap. But which is more true: women gravitate towards fields that pay less, or we as a society value the fields that women are traditionally encouraged towards at a lower dollar amount?
It is also true that many workplaces do not provide adequate supports to encourage women to stay in the workforce as new mothers. But to attribute the pay gap to maternity leave seems erroneous, as some of the world’s most generous maternity leave policies are found in countries with smaller wage gaps — like Iceland, for example.
It is also true that after taking these factors into account, there is still a 6%-10% unexplained gender pay gap. “Unexplained” is code for “discriminatory,” as this is the gap when all factors aside from gender are held constant.
Vincit-Lee Lloyd is the founder of a social media agency in Cape Town and a lover of economic theory.
“Companies are not sexist, they pay you for what you are worth…”
If you can provide more value to a company than Person B, you will be paid more.
On a national basis there is a wage gap, for sure. But then we must remember that we are comparing – for example, a female art historian to a male astronaut. Women do not, on average, go into the higher paying fields which would be the STEM fields of study.
Where there is not a wage gap: if we compare a man and a woman of similar age, similar country, similar state, similar city or town, similar industry, similar company, similar job rank, similar marital status, similar number of children, similar work hours per week, similar extra hours worked, and similar amount of requests for salary increases. If we compare these men and women with these are the criteria, then we will see that there is no wage gap.
Patrick Curtis is the founder and CEO of Wall Street Oasis (“WSO”), the largest online community focused on careers in finance with over 10 million unique visitors every year and the Chief Learning Officer of the IBP Institute, providers of the Investment Banking Professional Credential.
“In our 2017 Investment Banking Industry Report…”
Janet Ruth Heller, Ph.D.
Janet Ruth Heller is the founding mother of the Rape Crisis Center in Madison, Wisconsin. She also co-founded the Professional Instructors Organization union at Western Michigan University. She has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago and is an award-winning author for children and adults who has published six books.
“Statistics show that women now earn about 80 cents for every dollar that men earn…”
The wage gap has been narrowing slowly over the last decades, but it results in much less income over the lifetime of a woman worker. Women earned 79.6 cents for every dollar men made in 2015, according to data from the Census Bureau released last year. Meanwhile, Labor Department data show women earned about 82 cents for every dollar a man made in 2016. Vasel quotes expert Emily Martin: ‘The wage gap really impacts women across their career and lifespans,’ said Emily Martin, general counsel and vice president for Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center. She added that a woman working full time, year-round will lose more than $10,000 a year to the wage gap.’
There are many factors that contribute to this wage gap:
- Women tend to go into pink-collar professions that do not have high salaries or opportunities for advancement, such as serving as teachers, librarians, nurses, secretaries, etc.
- Women are raised to focus on care of others, so they are more likely to have to spend a lot of time caring for children and assisting elderly or sick relatives than men are. This focus on care of others may limit a woman’s working hours and possibility for promotion.
- Most administrators are still male, and many male administrators tend to underestimate women’s intelligence and ability. Therefore, women are less likely to get jobs and to get promotions.
- Women tend to be less assertive than men are when negotiating salaries for new jobs and for negotiating pay raises.
- Some employers worry that women will have children and lose work time due to pregnancy and motherhood.
- Sexual harassment is pervasive in some work environments, and this discourages women from working there and from seeking promotions.
Dave Weisbeck is the Chief Strategy Officer at Visier.
“Regarding the gender wage gap, and whether this concept is a myth or not…”
I wanted to share a study from Visier that showcases an unsettling reality when it comes to the workforce. The Visier Insights: Gender Equity report found clear and significant evidence that mothers in the United States continue to pay the price with respect to career advancement and wages.
In a key findings, Visier’s analysis of workforce data found a direct correlation between the Manager Divide — a growing gap in the percentage between men and women in management positions from age 32 and onwards — with a drop in women’s wages across education levels and occupations. The report also concluded that eliminating the Manager Divide would cut the gender wage gap by nearly one third.
Eliminate the ‘Motherhood Penalty’ by reducing the manager divide:
- Implement the Rooney Rule: for every manager position you have open to fill, consider “at least one woman and one underrepresented minority” in your slate of candidates.
- Implement blind screening, removing names (or other gender identifiers) from resumes when selecting candidates for interviews.
- Increase measurement and awareness of gender equity in the rollout or implementation of HR policies, including compensation policies.
- Support meaningful paid parental leave that is equal for both men and women.
- Ensure it is socially acceptable for both men and women to take time off to care for their children.
- Support programs that increase the availability of good quality affordable childcare for all parents.
- Ensure it is socially acceptable for both mothers and fathers to make use of flexible working time arrangements to care for children.
Dr. Sy Islam
Dr. Sy Islam is an Assistant Professor at Farmingdale State College and a human capital consultant for Talent Metrics specializing in selection, compensation, training, and organizational development.
“The gender wage gap is absolutely real…”
Numerous studies across cultures and time periods have supported the reality of the gender wage gap. The myth is that the gender wage gap is a true distinction in talent between men and women. The gender wage gap is a serious issue and can limit women in terms of both earning potential and promotions. By not addressing this myth fully we harm women in their earning and career prospects. Organizations like Intel that address the gender pay gap and nations like Norway that understand the importance of legal ramifications for unfair pay are moving forward and helping to create an effective meritocracy.
At Business.org, Micah focuses on helping small to mid-size businesses grow revenue, save time, and retain customers. With over 6 years of experience working on start-up websites, her goal is to help small business owners succeed on their own.
“Unfortunately, the gender wage gap is real, and it’s even more significant than you might expect…”
There are many reasons why it exists, but at the end of the day, the key is that it does. And it shouldn’t.
Beyond the obvious equal gender rights element, which is an essential consideration when talking about the wage gap, there are concrete effects to business success when women are paid less than men. To explore some of these effects, we at Business.org conducted some research to see if there is a correlation between how much women are paid compared to their male counterparts and the number of business births by state. The short version: there is.
A few more key observations:
- The top state in terms of equal earnings is New York, with women there making 89 cents to every dollar that a man makes. This sounds good at first glance until you realize — the best state in this category in the country shows women making more than 10% less than comparable men.
- The worst states for wage equality are Utah and Louisiana, with women’s wages tied at 70 cents on the dollar as compared to men.
- California sees by far the most business births of any state and has the second-best wage equality in the nation.
These findings, among many others as outlined in the report, paint a picture of a startup ecosystem buoyed by female leaders who are valued for their work in terms of salary. This correlation between business growth and wage equality suggests that although that gap still exists today, if women are paid as much as their male counterparts new businesses across the country will bloom.
Jacqueline V. Twillie
Jacqueline V. Twillie is an equal pay advocate and national negotiation strategist. She’s also the best-selling author of Navigating The Career Jungle: A Guide For Young Professionals.
“The gender wage gap is not a myth…”
Data shows how pervasive the wage gap is not only by gender but also by race. According to Institute for Women’s Policy Research In 2017, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 81.8 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage points since 2016, when the ratio was 81.9 percent, leaving a wage gap of 18.2 percentage points, nearly the same as the 18.1 percentage points in 2016. There are many factors that contribute to the gender wage gap that range from access to flexible work schedules, family paid leave, unpaid household labor, unconscious bias, discrimination, and a portion of the wage gap is unexplained. While the factors are vast, it is a real problem that has to be taken seriously in order to be corrected. According to IWPR, if working women were paid the same as their male counterparts it would add $513 billion in wage and salary income to the U.S. economy.
Ruth Taylor is a Senior Consultant with Plaxonic Technologies. She has extensive experience in business development and communications and is responsible for company’s sales operations, content marketing, and financing activities. She works with the clients to drive sustainable revenue growth by aligning her marketing talent with their business goals.
“Despite living in the 21st century where women are considered equal to men…”
The gender wage gap still exists. It sounds unrealistic, but this is what the truth is.
Facts supporting this claim:
Women earn 80 cents for every dollar made by a man, studies show. Even worse, the gap is way bigger for women of color. Black women earn 68% of what is paid to white men, while Hispanic women get 62% of their white male colleagues.
According to USA Today, Michelle Williams was paid less than 1% of Mark Wahlberg’s reshoot fee for the 2017 thriller movie, All the Money in the World. Then E! News host Catt Sadler unveiled that her male co-host was making double her salary since past several years.
A survey from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research reported that 51% of women have confessed being victim to ‘Pay Secrecy,’ which means they are prohibited from discussing salary and wage information.
Ellevest, a financial firm based on women investors, has concluded that 83% women believe that what they are being paid is quite less to what men get for the same work. Then there is another data point claiming that 48% women believe that they work twice as hard as a man to earn half of what he gets.
State Has Its Role As Well
According to the surveys, the gender wage gap varies from state to state. The gap was smallest in New York in the year 2016 and full-time working women were paid 89 percent of what men were paid. Talking about the largest gap, it was in Louisiana, because women there were paid 70 percent of what men were paid.
The Final Verdict
Harrison Brady is a digital marketing specialist for Frontier Communications. His expertise and insights have been shared on sites such as Business News Daily, Monster, Glassdoor, Reader’s Digest, and Fast Company.
“It’s a sad truth that the gender wage gap is a reality that continues today…”
For proof you only have to look as far as the publicly accessible U.S. Census Bureau. In recent news we saw what has been called a gender pay gap scandal: Claire Foy, who stars as Queen Elizabeth in the popular series “The Crown,” was paid less than supporting actor Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip. Fortunately, our society is currently at a boiling point where the issue is being brought to light, and I expect we’ll see slow and steady improvement.
Kimberly Faith has trained/coached over 24,000 leaders from companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Capgemini, and GE with leaders from 33 countries spanning 21 industries. Her expertise is in systems thinking and women’s leadership. She has recently published a powerful book for women titled Your Lion Inside: Tapping into the Power Within.
“Beware of the self-fulfilling prophecy…”
The good news is there is a lot of coverage about women and the wage gap issue. The bad news is most of the coverage is negative which can lead to women to wonder if they even have a chance. The danger of our collectively promoting the story of the wage gap is that unconsciously we are in danger of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. As an executive coach, I work with many women at all levels of leadership. The #1 issue is helping them get out of their own way first. To shift their perspective from having to prove themselves to boldly claiming their value. 3 out of 4 times when they walk in with impact numbers and an attitude of knowing their worth, the negotiations turn out significantly different in a positive direction. I have seen women end up with a 35-66% increase in their salary packages once they shifted their internal mindset; however, I also see women who have so bought into the wage gap myth that they unconsciously sabotage themselves.
Confirmation bias can blind you to possibilities. Confirmation bias is the belief that we will see what we expect to see. When we walk in expecting the company to try and pay us less, we will unconsciously look for signs to support that assumption. While it is always good idea to walk into an opportunity having done your homework about the expected pay range, why be confined by it? Think how powerful it will be when women walk in requesting more than the expected range and then focus their energy on why they are worth every dime. That approach leads to a powerful offensive stance instead of a defensive one. Women are wired to address issues in a holistic way that brings great value to the organization and often saves the company money. Use impact numbers to show your value and treat your salary package as an ROI for the company. If you walk in expecting to close the deal on your terms, then confirmation bias will work for you, not against you.
Yasemin Besen-Cassino is a Professor of Sociology at Montclair State University and is the author of The Cost of Being a Girl: Working Teens and the Origins of the Gender Wage Gap (Temple University Press 2018).
“The gender wage gap is so real and ubiquitous, some fail to notice its existence…”
In my new book, The Cost of Being a Girl: Working Teens and the Origins of the Gender Wage Gap (Temple University Press 2018), I show that the wage gap starts as early as 14 and widens with age. Commonsense explanations that reduce women’s lower pay to their “choices” are simply not applicable. Many young teens are not married, they don’t have children, they have the same education level; they don’t have any differences: yet they are paid much lower than their male counterparts. From a young age, whether they are babysitting or working at the mall, young women experience inequality in pay. While we have been concentrating on pay negotiation workshops and classes and tutorials aimed at young women, the cure is not simply women asking for money. Women are often denied when asking for a raise and their evaluations suffer as a result since they are not seen as “team players” or “nice.”
Mark Aselstine is the Founder of Uncorked Ventures.
“Here’s a very real example…”
My wife is part of a teachers union. When our sons have been born, she’s taken time off to be at home with them. It’s great and we plan and budget for that time.
Even in teaching though, she’s penalized by not moving down the salary scale in those years because she has taken some unpaid leave and therefore not accrued a full year of service. It’s exactly the kind of thing that makes her then earn less than her male colleagues, even though she’s really done the same job for the same length of time. There’s also no way to catch up and that difference pervades not only through her entire career, but into retirement as well.
Categories Human Resources
Angela Stringfellow is a writer with 10+ years of experience. She focuses on news, trends, and insights in marketing, business, and technology.