Menstuff® has compiled the following information on the wage gap.
The Wage Gap
Another Equal Pay Day? Really?
You've Got a Long Way to Go, Baby
Women creating pay gap?
Women, Education and Earning Power
Salary, gender and the social cost of haggling
Gender pay gap begins 1 year after college
One reason for pay gap: Women don't speak up
Gender pay gap - chat board
The Wage Gap
The Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963, making it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who hold the same job and do the same work. At the time of the EPA's passage, women earned just 58 cents for every dollar earned by men. By 2003, 40 years later, that rate had only increased to 76 cents, an improvement of less than half a penny a year. Minority women fare the worst. African-American women earn just 65 cents to every dollar earned by white men, and for Hispanic women that figure drops to merely 54 cents per dollar.
The wage gap between women and men cuts across a wide spectrum of occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 1999 that female physicians earned 62.5% of the median weekly wages of male physicians, and women in sales occupations earned just 59.9% of men's wages in equivalent positions.
If working women earned the same as men (those who work the same
number of hours; have the same education, age, and union status; and
live in the same region of the country), their annual family incomes
would rise by $4,000 and poverty rates would be cut in half.
Also see Why Men Earn More
Another Equal Pay Day? Really?
Which brings us to National Equal Pay Day. I can't believe we're having another one. I still have my little green button from 1970 with "59¢" emblazoned on it tacked to my bulletin board. I remember how we all wore that button on our t-shirts as we marched to protest the gender pay disparity of that time. Now we're at 77 cents.
Forty years and 18 cents. A dozen eggs has gone up ten times that amount.
There are people who undermine the pay gap by citing the women who make 98 cents on every dollar a man makes. But this is an elite group. According to the National Women's Law Center, the vast majority of American women working "full-time, year-round" are still stuck in that shameful 77-cent zone. The gap, says the Law Center, translates into "$10,622 less per year in female median earnings." Those are real dollars that could cover real expenses like food and school and clothes and health care and childcare.
Many companies try to disguise the inequity. Take the infamous Wal-Mart sex discrimination case, in which it was revealed that female workers at Wal-Mart earned about 5% less than men doing similar jobs between 1996 and 2001. Defenders of Wal-Mart might tell you that the discrepancy is practically negligible that, in fact, hourly-waged men make only 37 cents an hour more than the women.
But climb a little further up that corporate ladder to the career jobs and it's impossible to disguise the inequity. At the senior vice president level at Wal-Mart, says the report, the average pay for a man is $419,435 a year. And for women? Just $279,772. That's $140,000 a gap too many numerals for my little green button.
There are those who will dismiss this disparity and ask us women to congratulate ourselves for moving up the corporate food chain. That's the ol' you've-come-a-long-way-baby kind of thinking. It's too late for that. Today, as we mark another Equal Pay Day (or as some of us call it, Unequal Pay Day), we can't celebrate a mere 18-cent gain made over four decades.
So what do we do? We've worn the buttons, we've done the marches, we've lobbied. Now what?
Now we do what we Americans must always do: speak up and be heard. Thankfully, our voices are being carried by Senators Barbara Mikulski and Rosa L. DeLauro, who today will reintroduce on the floor of the U.S Senate the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would, among other things:
require that employers defend any gender pay disparities by showing that the pay differences exist for legitimate, job-related reasons,
remove obstacles that prevent discriminated upon employees from filing class action lawsuits, and
ensure that the Department of Labor utilizes the full range of its investigatory tools to uncover pay discrimination.
"Women and men everywhere should call their Congress representatives and urge them to support this bill," Judy Lichtman, the president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, told me on the phone. "That would be the most powerful way to celebrate Equal Pay Day."
I think that's a great idea. So let's do it. I don't want to have
to take my little green button off my bulletin board again.
Salary, gender and the social cost of
About 10 years ago, a group of graduate students lodged a complaint with Linda C. Babcock, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University : All their male counterparts in the university's PhD program were teaching courses on their own, whereas the women were working only as teaching assistants.
That mattered, because doctoral students who teach their own classes get more experience and look better prepared when it comes time to go on the job market.
When Babcock took the complaint to her boss, she learned there was a very simple explanation: "The dean said each of the guys had come to him and said, 'I want to teach a course,' and none of the women had done that," she said. "The female students had expected someone to send around an e-mail saying, 'Who wants to teach?' " The incident prompted Babcock to start systematically studying gender differences when it comes to asking for pay raises, resources or promotions. And what she found was that men and women are indeed often different when it comes to opening negotiations.
These differences, Babcock and other researchers have concluded, may partially explain the persistent gender gap in salaries, as well as other disparities in how people rise to the top of organizations. Women working full time earn about 77 percent of the salaries of men working full time, Babcock said. That figure does not take differing professions and educational levels into account, but when those and other factors are controlled for, women who work full time and have never taken time off to have children earn about 11 percent less than men with equivalent education and experience.
In one early study, Babcock brought 74 volunteers into a laboratory to play a word game called Boggle. The volunteers were told they would be paid anywhere from $3 to $10 for their time. After playing the game, each student was given $3 and asked if the sum was okay. Eight times more men than women asked for more money.
Babcock then ran the experiment a different way. She told a new set of 153 volunteers that they would be paid $3 to $10 but explicitly added that the sum was negotiable. Many more now asked for more money, but the gender gap remained substantial: 58 percent of the women, but 83 percent of the men, asked for more.
Another study quizzed graduating master's degree students who had received job offers about whether they had simply accepted the offered starting salary or had tried to negotiate for more. Four times as many men -- 51 percent of the men vs. 12.5 percent of the women -- said they had pushed for a better deal. Not surprisingly, those who negotiated tended to be rewarded -- they got 7.4 percent more, on average -- compared with those who did not negotiate.
Although differences in starting salaries are usually modest, small differences can have big effects down the road. If a 22-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman are offered $25,000 for their first job, for example, and one of them negotiates the amount up to $30,000, then over the next 28 years, the negotiator would make $361,171 more, assuming they both got 3 percent raises each year. And this is without taking into account the fact that the negotiators don't just get better starting pay; they also win bigger raises over the course of their careers.
The traditional explanation for the gender differences that Babcock found is that men are simply more aggressive than women, perhaps because of a combination of genetics and upbringing. The solution to gender disparities, this school of thought suggests, is to train women to be more assertive and to ask for more. However, a new set of experiments by Babcock and Hannah Riley Bowles, who studies the psychology of organizations at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government , offers an entirely different explanation.
Their study, which was coauthored by Carnegie Mellon researcher Lei Lai, found that men and women get very different responses when they initiate negotiations. Although it may well be true that women often hurt themselves by not trying to negotiate, this study found that women's reluctance was based on an entirely reasonable and accurate view of how they were likely to be treated if they did. Both men and women were more likely to subtly penalize women who asked for more -- the perception was that women who asked for more were "less nice".
"What we found across all the studies is men were always less willing to work with a woman who had attempted to negotiate than with a woman who did not," Bowles said. "They always preferred to work with a woman who stayed mum. But it made no difference to the men whether a guy had chosen to negotiate or not."
In this study, Bowles and her colleagues divided 119 volunteers at random into different groups and provided them with descriptions of male or female candidates who tried to negotiate a higher starting salary for a hypothetical job, along with descriptions of applicants who accepted the offered salary. The volunteers were asked to decide whether they would hire the candidates -- who were all described as exceptionally talented and qualified. While both men and women were penalized for negotiating, Bowles found that the negative effect for women was more than twice as large as that for men.
Subsequent studies used actors who recorded videos of themselves asking for more money or accepting salaries they had been offered. A new group of 285 volunteers were again asked whether they would be willing to work with the candidates after viewing the videos. Men tended to rule against women who negotiated but were less likely to penalize men; women tended to penalize both men and women who negotiated, and preferred applicants who did not ask for more.
In a final set of studies, Bowles's team had 367 volunteers play the role of job candidates and left it up to them to decide whether to ask for more money than they were offered. Women were less likely than men to negotiate when they believed they would be dealing with a man, but there was no significant difference between men and women when they thought a woman would be making the decision. The applicants, in other words, were accurately reading how males and females were likely to perceive them.
"This isn't about fixing the women," Bowles said. "It isn't about telling women, 'You need self-confidence or training.' They are responding to incentives within the social environment."
The findings, published this year in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, help explain why some other studies have reached conflicting conclusions. For example, one study by Barry A. Gerhart, then at Cornell University , found little difference between male and female MBA students in whether they negotiated over their starting salary. Similarly, Bowles said, the new study showed that women did not act in the same way at all times: They were more likely to negotiate when dealing with another woman than when dealing with a man.
"It is not that women always act one way and men act another way;
it tends to be moderated by situational factors," Bowles said. "The
point of this paper is: Yes, there is an economic rationale to
negotiate, but you have to weigh that against social risks of
negotiating. What we show is those risks are higher for women than
Source: Shankar Vedantam, www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20030873/?GT1=10150
One reason for pay gap: Women don't speak
My job is OK, but the work environment has deteriorated. We are constantly threatened with replacement by Indian workers. Most of my co-workers have been replaced by foreigners who never leave the country. We are not treated well because management figures that they can always replace us with a foreigner. We are always apprehensive and stressed. I'm just another foreigner in my own country.
Shellye Archambeau knows a lot about how much men and women make in corporate America, having been a top executive for more than two decades, running major businesses at companies such as IBM and Blockbuster.
She definitely noticed a disparity in pay between men and women, but she also noticed something else over the years: Few women she supervised came a knocking on her door demanding more money. The men, on the other hand, were more likely to squawk for a fatter paycheck.
It started to surprise me that many males on my team would stop by and have a conversation with me about their financial needs and expectations. Throughout my career I only had one woman actually come and talk about her financial needs during raise time. When people came, it was the men, says Archambeau, who is now CEO of software company MetricStream Inc.
Could it be that women are partly to blame for the persistent pay gap between males and females in the work force? Are many of us lame negotiators, afraid to toot our own horns and bring up the taboo subject of money?
Archambeau thinks so.
I dont believe theres a conspiracy out there with a group of male executives saying, Were going to pay women less in this company, she explains. She believes the squeaky wheels at pay raise time, which are often the men, get a few percentage points more than women who dont ask for more. Over time, she surmises, those few percentage points contribute to an eventual huge pay gap between the sexes.
Indeed, despite advances by women in the workplace and the apparent attempts by corporations to attract more female employees, the pay gap persists.
And it turns out the chasm begins earlier than we thought.
Late last month, the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation reported that just one year out of college, full-time female employees are already making less than their male counterparts who work in the same field. And it only gets worse from there.
The report found that women earn only 80 percent of what their male colleagues take home a year after they get their diplomas, and 10 years later the number drops to 69 percent. Men were also more likely to be in positions of power and more involved in hiring, firing and supervising. (The researchers took into account parenthood choices and occupation.)
"These employees dont have a lot of experience and, for the most part, dont have care-giving obligations, so youd expect there to be very little difference in the wages of men and women. But surprisingly, and unfortunately, we find that women already earn less even when they have the same major and occupation as their male counterparts," says Catherine Hill, director of research for the foundation. "We need to make workplaces more family-friendly, reduce sex segregation in education and in the workplace, and combat discrimination that continues to hold women back in the workplace."
It is impossible to totally disregard discrimination. A recent bias suits proves just that. Morgan Stanley agreed last month to pay $46 million to settle a lawsuit accusing the firm of discriminating against thousands of its female financial advisers by paying them less than men on the payroll.
Whether we like it or not, many employers and society at large still see men as the main breadwinners in the family, says Linda Babcock, an economist at Carnegie Mellon University. People often see women as the second wage earners, and thats not an effective strategy for us, she adds.
But even in the face of all these obstacles, its about time women started standing up for themselves. Everyone wants advancement and more money, but some women are not well-versed in the art of negotiations and shy away from the dreaded process with their bosses.
Pink, a womens business magazine, found that nearly half of 2,400 women surveyed did not ask for a raise, additional benefit or promotion in the past 12 months. And alas, theyre missing out, because 72 percent of those who asked got what they wanted, according to the survey.
Women are just reluctant to talk about money, says Susan Wilson Solovic, author of "The Girls Guide to Power and Success." Women are comfortable talking about anything else in their lives, she says. We share the most personal details about our spouses or children, but when it comes to money we just shut up.
Women are bad about negotiating for money because we are socialized to associate money with greed, she explains. We also are taught an ambitious and aggressive desire to accumulate wealth is not feminine. We grow up believing in the fairy tale that someone will take care of us and we dont have to worry our pretty little heads about money. Perhaps that is why the majority of people living in poverty in this country are women and children.
One of the key principles of negotiation is being able to promote one's self, and here women often fall down on the job.
There is no doubt, women are less inclined to self-promote, and theyre more likely to accept what theyre offered, says John McKee, a business success coach and author of 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot.
But acceptance ends up hitting women right in their pocketbooks. If you dont start pumping up your negotiating skills right out of school, that can cost you big time.
Take the example of a young woman who at age 22 who is offered a $25,000 job but negotiates and gets the offer raised to $30,000. If she gets a 3 percent raise every year, by the time she is 60 her annual salary will be more than $92,000, instead of $77,000 if she had accepted the lower offer. Over that 38-year career she would have made an extra $361,000.
Even with these compelling numbers it will take a lot for most women to don negotiating armor because it runs counter to how we were raised, says Carnegie Mellons Babcock, who is also the author of Women Dont Ask: Gender and the Negotiation Divide.
Our society teaches women not to negotiate. We get these messages from the time that they are born, she says. We tell girls to wait for things to be offered and not to rock the boat. We teach boys to go out there and be aggressive, to go after what they want.
Just check out your local baby sitters.
Leslie Morgan Steiner, mother of three and author of Mommy Wars: Stay-at-home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families, says that over the years shes employed about 30 sitters, mainly girls, and every single time shes asked them how much they charged their answer was: whatever you want to pay me.
Morgan Steiner says she has done her part to help girls get some negotiating teeth by insisting that they come up with a price and coaching them on what to say to other parents. I want to help them, so I tell them to say, The going rate for a baby sitter is X. I try to give them language so after me theyll be able to say what they charge.
Girls need training right out of the gate. If you cant
stand up for yourself as a 12-year-old baby sitter, youre going
to face a lot of problems because you wont be able to negotiate
with an employer, or the man youre dating, or in so many other
situations. Id love to see negotiation skills taught in
Gender pay gap begins 1 year after
Women make only 80 percent of the salaries their male peers do one year after college; after 10 years in the work force, the gap between their pay widens further, according to a study released Monday.
The study, by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, found that 10 years after college, women earn only 69 percent of what men earn.
Even after controlling for hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors known to affect earnings, the study found that one-quarter of the pay gap remains unexplained. The group said that portion of the gap is likely due to sex discrimination.
Over time, the unexplained portion of the pay gap grows, the group said in a news release.
Catherine Hill, the organizations director of research, said: Part of the wage difference is a result of peoples choices, another part is employers assumptions of what peoples choices will be. ... Employers assume that young women are going to leave the work force when they have children, and, therefore, dont promote them.
The organization found that womens scholastic performance was not reflected in their compensation. Women have slightly higher grade point averages than men in every major, including science and math. But women who attend highly selective colleges earn the same as men who attend minimally selective colleges, according to the study.
The pay gap is not going to disappear just through
educational achievements, Hill said.