Three best practices which can help make a difference
I was recently having a conversation with a girlfriend of mine about what my earnings were back in the early 80’s in banking and how I was so excited when I got my first raise. I recall earning less then my male counterpart and thought nothing of it back then. My thought was that he was probably raising a family and needed the additional money. More was expected of him, and therefore, I would not want to take away anything from him or his ability to provide for his growing family.
I vividly recall most of my performance reviews. I would anticipate my meetings, knowing the results would always be positive. I would be told how much of a “team player” I was and how my performance was critical to the success of the company’s future. I would anxiously wait for that moment when they would begin the “money talk. I would never demand,
I would never question, and I would take whatever was given and be grateful.
Fast-forward to 2015 and we find out that according to the American Association of University Women, the pay gap has barely budged in a decade! Something is wrong people! In 2013, among full-time, workers, women were paid 78 percent of what men were paid. That means that for every dollar a man earns, a women is earning 78 cents.
The best and worst
The best place in the United States for pay equity is Washington, D.C., where women were paid 91 percent of what men were paid in 2013. At the other end of the spectrum is Louisiana, the worst state in the country for pay equity, where women were paid just 66 percent of what men were paid.
The gender pay gap affects all women, but for women of color the pay shortfall is worse. Asian American women’s salaries show the smallest gender pay gap, at 90 percent of white men’s earnings and Hispanic women’s salaries show the largest gap, at 54 percent of white men’s earnings.
White men are used as a benchmark because they make up the largest demographic group in the labor force and women face a pay gap in nearly every occupation. From elementary and middle school teachers to computer programmers, women are paid less than men in female-dominated, gender-balanced, and male-dominated occupations.
The pay gap grows with age too. Women typically earn about 90 percent of what men are paid until they hit 35. After that median earnings for women are typically 75–80 percent of what men are paid. I think that says a lot about generational gaps and what we are teaching our young people today.
Although it is true that education is an effective tool for increasing earnings, it is not a guarantee to increased earnings against gender pay gap. At every level of academic achievement, women’s earnings are less than men’s earnings, and in some cases, the gender pay gap is larger at higher levels of education.
Here’s something else that may surprise you, women without children also suffer the pay gap, so for as far as we have come we still have a long way to go.
We know we have a gap and we know we have a problem. Rome was not built in a day and we know it takes a village to make a difference. Here are a few things we can all do individually to make some changes.
Even if you think it’s too late for you, think about your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and the future of all women. We are all paving the way and you can’t underestimate the power of one!
Start making a difference one woman at a time.
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