Gender Pay Gap – The Shameful Reality

  • Gender pay inequality has been prevalent in our society for ages.
  • Sadly, it continues to exists.
  • Awareness and strong leaders can help eradicate gender pay inequality in our workplaces.

As compared to women, the participation of men is much higher in the labor market. As per the International Labor Organization (ILO), most of the countries have a difference in women and men work force. However, since the last 30 years, there has been a rise in the women workforce. More and more women are climbing up the career ladder. They are competitive, ambitious, and strong-headed career-oriented women. However, the women in managerial positions are only at 34%, which is a huge alarming gap. Even though they have academic qualifications and skills at par with their male counterparts, there is a disparity in the number of women in manager positions as compared to men. It’s quite shocking to know that there is gender inequality in every sector.

Source: The information is from the Global Gender Gap Index for the year 2018 of 149 countries that have featured in the 2018 index. The chart shows the gender gap percentage in each region. Note: Chart created by author.

Gender Inequality

The gender pay inequality has been prevalent in our society for ages. Even though we have advanced into a digital age, we still face gender pay inequality. Even in 2019, for every dollar earned by men, women earn $0.79. If a woman holds the same position as her male counterpart in the same organization, with the same work experience, the woman makes $0.98 as compared to a man who makes a dollar. However, gender pay further widens for women of color and various races.

Racial Discrimination

Hispanic and women of color earn around 26% lesser than white men. As per a study by EqualPayDay.Org, a woman of color had to work till August 2019 to earn the same pay as what the white man earned by the end of 2018. However, there is no huge difference between women of color and white women if they are in the same organization, holding similar positions, and with the same work experience. They are paid almost the same pay. Even though there is less disparity in pay, women of color and white women are treated differently at work. There is racial discrimination in the workplace, even today.

Equal Pay Day Initiative

In 1996, the National Committee started The Equal Pay Day initiative to create awareness of the disparity of wages among gender pay. The 2nd of April is set aside every year as Equal Pay Day to create awareness on how far we are from closing the gender pay gap. In spite of women being educated with professional degrees, work experience, and skills, they take a much longer time as compared to men to hold a managerial or upper management position. Even if they get a promotion after a long wait, they don’t receive the same remuneration their male counterpart receives for the same role.

Difference in Career Journey

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018c). As per the Economic News Release. This graph shows the median weekly wages earned by men and women in different age groups in the third quarter of 2019. Note: Chart created by author.

If a man and woman start their career journey between the age group of 24 to 28. They both work as individual contributors until they reach around 30 years. However, the man starts to climb up the ladder quickly while the woman is still at the individual contributor level. It’s only a percentage of women who get the opportunity to start working in managerial positions as compared to men. However, by the time women start to climb the ladder, the men they worked with have already climbed up to the executive levels.

The reason for women earning less is due to the mindset of employers or management who consider that they are fit only for certain roles. For instance, men are preferred over women in computer science, engineering, and technical jobs. Whereas, women are preferred in the educational field, healthcare, and office administrative jobs. These jobs have lower incomes than men who work in engineering fields.

Closing the Gap

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Median weekly earnings by profession for men and women in 2018. Note: Chart created by author.

At the pace we are moving, concerning gender pay equality, it will take over 100 years for women to receive equal pay as men. However, there is more awareness of the gender pay gap among some employers. Some of the organizations have already started working towards eliminating the gap. Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, advocates gender pay equality. He also advocates about women being promoted to leadership roles. Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand have also been advocating about Gender equal pay in their campaigns. The awareness among employers and employees is the need of the hour to close the pay gap.

The awareness has led to women employees negotiating for better pay with confidence. Women who are in top leadership roles like Irene Rosenfeld of Kraft Foods, Carol M. Meyrowitz of The TJX Companies, and Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo has proved to the world that women bosses can run large organizations on their shoulders. They have proved that they can face competition and lead teams like their male equivalents. These women leaders have inspired both men and women. The growth of an individual at an organization should be based on their skills and capability. An employer should not lose out on an employee because of inequality at work. It’s a huge loss to the organization than it is for the individual.

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